Note: an Instant Pot version of this soup was posted in April of 2018. The printable recipe on this post includes instructions for both the stove top and Instant Pot versions.
It is a joy and at times a true puzzle to figure out how to use up leftovers, but a good cook lets nothing go to waste. Or, as Winston Churchill said,
Never let a good crisis go to waste.
And it is at times a “crisis’ in the fridge: 2 boiled eggs, two pieces of bacon, a quart of milk nearly gone bad, a bowl of boiled potatoes, and one piece of sad stale baguette are in your direct view every time you open the door. Why isn’t there a lovely fillet of salmon, a great bottle of Chardonnay, and deeply-green spinach just out of the neighbor’s garden? Instead of a fresh fish meal, you make a quick potato soup topped with toasted breadcrumbs and then chop together a little egg salad for crackers as a side. And often you’re happier than if you’d cooked from scratch. (Aside: In Seattle, you’re fined $25 if food is found in your garbage. You must use and eat or compost.)
below: dogs all dressed up for Easter
Tuesday morning’s “crisis” (OH DEAR) was a bit of cold Asparagus Vinaigrette with Chopped Eggs I had taken to friends for an Easter Eve supper. Holiday leftover crises are somewhat worse than the traditional what’s-in-that-tupperware? problem. Well, I just heated a small plateful in a skillet and cooked two eggs on top for my breakfast:
Other times, with leftover boiled eggs (read Easter), I make English muffins with chopped eggs, asparagus and cheese sauce (if you need a recipe here it is):
Last night’s “crisis” was a few slices of rare lamb from Easter, half a loaf of Challah, a big bag of cooked peas Mike made, a container of fresh mint, and cream a neighbor had dropped by saying airily, “You can use this, right?” There were small, overly ripe tomatoes crying out for someone to do something, please? I made this beautiful pea soup and then grilled lamb panini with Parmesan, horseradish mustard, and fresh tomatoes to round out the meal. (I forgot to photograph the panini. Sorry.)
This time of year some of you might soon have some fresh peas; use them. (Trader Joe’s has them fairly often.) Otherwise leftovers or frozen peas (run them under hot water to unthaw them) will work just fine. This soup is fast, luscious hot OR cold, and is also easily vegan and/or gluten-free; see notes for vegan option. Just cook some and be happy:
CREAM OF PEA SOUP WITH MINT, SCALLIONS, & SHARP CHEDDAR
- 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped (no need to peel)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 2-3 cups fresh, frozen, or leftover cooked green peas
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth, Gluten-Free if needed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half or a vegan milk of choice (See note re vegan option)
- 1-2 drops Hot sauce or to taste
- 2 tablespoons minced scallions (white and green parts)
- 1/4 cup grated very sharp Cheddar cheese (See note re vegan option)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a heavy six-quart pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring regularly, and then add mint, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper, and 2 cups of the peas. Heat through; pour in wine. Let cook down until wine has been absorbed and then pour in broth.
Put ovenproof bowls on a half sheet pan and place pan in oven for bowls to warm.
Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover again, and cook until all vegetables are tender. Stir in cream or half and half. Season with hot sauce. Heat through without boiling. Purée briefly in pot using an immersion blender or carefully in batches in food processor or blender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more broth or water is soup is too thick. If too thin, add more peas and purée a bit more if desired. Serve hot in warmed bowls garnished with a little of the minced scallions and cheddar cheese.
For Vegan version, use all olive oil, replace chicken broth with vegetable broth, replace half and half with almond or coconut milk, and replace cheese with toasted bread crumbs.
For Gluten-Free: Check all labels for gluten if using pre-purchased ingredients such as broth and/or milk.
AROUND THE ‘HOOD AND IN THE TWO-DOG KITCHEN
In which Rosie gets spayed. Right after going into heat. Had to get her a little diaper outfit over Easter weekend. She hated it. Dave said, “Miss Rose, put on your big girl pants and deal with it.”
We had a neighborhood potluck at our house for Easter and I took no pics except of the cake Emily –home for Easter — made while Dave was tasting the deviled eggs. The cake, under the decor, is a carrot cake with walnuts. Yum.
Sing a new song and make like you’re in London; have pea soup,