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                   Stove top version included in the printable recipe below.

A few years ago, next-door neighbor Mike brought over a big dish of peas with pearl onions and fresh mint for the Easter potluck (he did that again this year as peas and mint–mushy or not– are a standout comfort spring bonus with lamb) and Easter Monday I discovered he’d left a big bagful in my fridge. It seemed time for some sort of pea soup and you’ll find that post here.  I loved that soup to death, but had sort of forgotten about it in the interim. It wasn’t split pea, though it might have been its third cousin twice removed.  Not dark and smokey with bacon, nor a homey thick, tummy full soup you’d want in the thick of winter, this was pea soup gone light and bright–and it was a gorgeous hue. (What are mushy peas?)

(below:  Mike with wife Sara at one of our favorite Twin Cities bars, THE GROVELAND TAP)

Vegetables simply do something for me that I can’t exactly describe, but part of it is their color. Colors is what I meant. So look at my grilled “Eggplant Lasagna.”  Then think about the color of pot roast.

..or drool over my Grilled Cheese Peppers–actually I made them, but they’re Dorothy and Bob’s–and then consider a bratwurst:

Read my post, “My Love Affair with Vegetables” here.

You’ve got it, right? And nothing against meat for sure.

And those peas, almost comically happy in their bright, wacky greenness, could have been spooned up off a plate one more time. Of course they could!

                       above: fresh peas are often available at Trader Joe’s

They also might have been tossed into our ubiquitous salad–and husband Dave eats more salad than anyone I’ve ever known–or even stirred into a pot of my spring lamb stew.

Rotterdam-Dave at De Ballentent not eating a salad for a change, but about to eat the famous local bal gehakt (meatballs) with a craft beer.

Instead, a new little soup was born. Minty and fresh, the pot was thickened and sweetened with heavy cream at the very end. I garnished it with terribly sharp Cheddar (the sharpest you can find–I like Tillamook or Cabot or any Irish brand) and a shower of slivered green onions–one of the best, simplest, and most flavorful garnishes known to woman. Don’t ever underestimate the power, taste, and beauty of scallions.

IMG_4863

above: my south window with chives, mint, rosemary, and more

Casting about for a new soup to try in my Instant Pot (IP), I came across the photo of that pea soup and knew I had to try it. Now it’s in my stomach and also in Dave’s, who couldn’t stop talking about the flavors. I have enough ingredients to make it again tomorrow… so that I have lunch for a few days. A rare thing for me to make the same soup twice in a row, but just watch me.  (Scroll down for lots of general IP info, btw.)

BELOW: Winter was lost for months, but made a late arrival here over the weekend. This is an early morning shot.

There are many cool things about this soup, but here are three: 1:  It’s luscious and popping with flavor. YUM!! 2:  Eat my inexpensive vegetarian soup HOT OR COLD (so make it in the summer for a first course), and 3: Talk about fast– only 5 minutes pressure cooking and an immediate release. Of course, you still have to prep (I’m throwing all those vegetables in the food processor, right?) and wait for the IP to build pressure, but it’s still so quick and convenient because once you load up the IP, sauté for a bit, and press the MANUAL (pressure cook) button, you’re off the hook. While it’s meant to for quick/manual release, if you left it for natural release (an extra 20 minutes or so), I don’t think it would go far astray. Go watch Chef’s Table France. Drink wine on the porch. Ok, get on the treadmill. Well, whichever you choose, get cooking. I include notes for vegetarian or vegan versions in the printable recipe and the soup is naturally Gluten-Free (Check ingredient labels.) So try this:

INSTANT POT:  CREAM OF PEA SOUP WITH MINT, SCALLIONS, & SHARP CHEDDAR

serves 4

This is a bit thinner in the Instant Pot version, though stirring the cheese in at the end does thicken it a bit. If you’d like a thicker soup, add a peeled and cubed medium russet potato along with the peas.  The printable recipe contains directions for both the stove top and the Instant Pot versions.

  • 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 or frozen, or even 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)–garnish
  • 1/4 cup grated very sharp Cheddar cheese or to taste (See note re vegan option)–garnish

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and place bowls on rack to warm.

  • Press SAUTÉ feature on the Instant Pot and adjust to NORMAL. Add butter and oil, heat for 10-20 seconds, and tip onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softening.
  • Add remainder of ingredients except cream, hot sauce, scallions, and cheese. (mint through broth.)
  • Secure lid and close the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE.  Select MANUAL and set for 5 minutes, pressure cooking.
  • When pressure cooking is completed, use a MANUAL/QUICK RELEASE to depressurize and allow steam to release before opening lid.
  • Purée using a hand-held immersion blender or carefully in batches in the food processor or blender (hold towel down tightly over lid).  Stir in cream and hot sauce. Press CANCEL/WARM. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot in warmed bowls garnished with green onions or cheddar.

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.

Printable recipe:    Recipes-Soup-Cream of Pea

 

BASIC IP INFO HERE:


What is an Instant Pot anyway?

While the food world has rocked for a few years with IP recipes, stories, books, and so on, the rest of the folks go on unaware and I hear this all the time, “What’s an Instant Pot?” So I don’t post an IP recipe without a bit of linky background. By the way, despite my happiness with my basic IP bought on Black friday for under $100, the current favorite–according to Cook’s Illustrated– is the Fagor LUX LCD Multicooker ($199.95). Read all about it here. I haven’t seen or tried it, but share the info I have. Note to the wary:  look and be careful before buying a Multicooker at Walmart; they’ve had a lot of trouble with those pots.

Instant Pot basics here.

BOOKS AND BLOGS FEATURING INSTANT POTS:

I’m not at a place where I’ve used enough recipes from either these books to say they’re the best of the bunch, but they are the ones I chose and so far I haven’t wanted others, of which there are many. As to the first, I would trust any book by Melissa Clark and the second one, INSTANT POT MIRACLE (bought at COSTCO for only $13.99), is authorized by Instant Pot. I do wish the latter had an indicated author(s); instead there are a few recipes attributed to bloggers, but little else. Someone, or a few someones, wrote that book!

Dinner in an Instant  by Melissa Clark

Instant Pot Miracle–Editors at Houghton-Mifflin

BLOGS:  Kalyn Denny’s blog, SLOW COOKER OR PRESSURE COOKER, for more favorite recipes for IP and slow cookers. Or check out PRESSURECOOKINGTODAY, which also contains a review of the Crock-Pot version of the electric pressure cooker.


WHAT AM I READING?

above: IHN cooks in our church kitchen readying meal for guests

This is my week to co-coordinate cooking for homeless families in downtown Colorado Springs at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ; it’s one of three times per year that this happens. I’ve been cooking for what has been locally known as IHN (Inter-Faith Hospitality Network), and is now part of Family Promise, for many years (20?), but have just begun as a coordinator over the last year. It’s a heart-warming, positive thing to be doing in our country that’s so divided and full of hate and violence. This work helps to let me know I live my faith at least in this small way, not just read about it or pray during worship. In our community, 30 local churches, temples, and mosques take turns housing the homeless for a week at a time, cooking dinner for the people and providing ingredients for breakfasts and lunches. Want to get involved in Family Promise?

Searching out an old recipe the other day for a meal I was providing in-part for IHN, I pulled out my first and easiest Mexican cookbook– published in 1978 by ORTHO books–and had to read more than a few pages:

That makes for a busy and eventful week, but I’ve kicked back a time or two with the newest Jodi Picoult book–SMALL GREAT THINGS, bought at the airport as I flew home two days late from the Minnesota snow storm last week. I’ve never read her books (I rarely read books on the fiction best-seller lists), but am enjoying this particular one immensely. As I haven’t finished it, I can’t give anything away–suffice to say it’s the story of a labor and delivery nurse (African-American) who is accused of killing a newborn baby (white and the son of White supremacists). Each chapter is written from the view point of one of the main characters–the nurse, the lawyer, the man whose child died. If you’re a local friend, neighbor, or cooking student, I’ll pass this one when I’m done; say the word!

Thanks for spending more time at the table. I appreciate you more than you know. I have a surge of new followers lately:  welcome and COOK ON 🙂

Sing a new song, make some pea soup, read a new book–or an old one,

Alyce

P.S. The newest British royal baby was born today. When I get his name, I’m thinking about naming this soup after him. You know:  London, pea soup (fog), etc. We’ll see! It’s a grand day for great-grandchildren.