Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is a colorful Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup. You "cheat" on winter when preparing this soup because you use frozen, not fresh peas for this velvety, spring colored soup.
Frozen peas are available year round, fresh garden peas, however, are in season only from early June until late July. “Petits pois” or “Small Garden Peas” are young garden peas that are picked and shelled when small, young and tender, and can be found in stores year round as frozen peas, therefore, I believe there are the best choice for this soup which calls for one pound of frozen peas in addition to an onion (I used spring onions), a few cups of stock (I used home made vegetable stock), and one medium head of romaine lettuce (I used a head of wonderfully tender butterhead lettuce instead).
This soup is prepared much the same way any cream of vegetable soup is prepared – all you are required to do is sauté the onion, add the broth, stir in the peas and lettuce leaves, simmer away, purée, garnish with some crème fraîche and serve. Voilà. It is that easy and delightful and delicious. The small peas are easy to purée and there was no need to push the soup through the strainer before serving.
In my never ending quest to find local manufacturers and producers, I finally found a regional artisan flour mill. So on my first visit there on Wednesday, I bought four different kinds of flour and could not wait to use some of the "extra strong bread flour" and bake a bread to accompany this wonderful soup. If you serve warm bread with this Pea Soup, you will have a nice winter lunch or dinner. In summer, you could also serve this Pea Soup cold, with or without a side salad.
Recipe for Cheese Bread with Garlic and Thyme
Ingredients for the Bread
- 500 grams strong white bread flour (I used bread flour from a regional artisan flour mill)
- 7 grams yeast
- 1 tsp fine sea salt (I used French sea salt)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (I used organic extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (I used Grade "A" maple syrup)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed lightly with the flat of a knife and the heel of your hand
- 25 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 200 grams Comté cheese, grated (you could also use a different cheese)
- a few fresh thyme leaves
Preparation of the Bread
- Measure the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl.
- Mix 300 ml hand-hot water with the oil and maple syrup in a small bowl, then pour into the dry mix, stirring all the time to make a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead for a good five minutes until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour as you need it.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about an hour and thirty minutes).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and fit it onto a baking sheet. Dimple the dough with your fingers.
- In a small bowl, mix the crushed garlic with the butter, then dot over the dough. Sprinkle over the cheese and snip over the thyme.
- Cover the bread with lightly oiled plastic wrap, then leave in a warm place to rise for about forty minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Remove the plastic warp, then bake the bread for about thirty minutes or until golden and risen.
- Leave to cool for ten minutes, then cut or tear into pieces and serve with the Pea Soup or any other soup or salad.
Overall, this is a lovely, simple soup, perfect for winter as well as summer. I love to use ingredients that I always have on hand and make something new and delicious with them, such as this Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup. If you would like to have an even silkier texture, than you should strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve. I can imagine that while frozen peas are wonderful in this recipe, using fresh peas in summer will be divine – but, of course, you would have to change the name of the soup to “Simply Divine Summer Fresh Pea Soup”.
To see how the other Doristas prepared this Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup, please click here.