Monday, March 03, 2008

Gag Them With Some Soup

I have previously mentioned how much I loved the Fresh Pea Soup that I saw featured on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. It's flavor truly is fresh, light, and wonderfully creamy and filling, while not at all heavy and cloying. I prepared my version minus the mint that Ina had used and with frozen peas, as fresh just aren't available this time of year. Each bowl full was an immense pleasure.

However, when I took leftovers to school on a day of subbing in Second Grade, I think that I was the only one who was in love with the beautiful green concoction. As the students were lining up for lunch, I pulled the Gladware from my bag and was met with a chorus of "What is THAT??!!??" The school colors may be green and white, but green soup was pushing things for those kids. They immediately made gagging noises at my explanation of pea soup and tried to rearrange themselves in line so as to not have to sit next to or across from me at the lunch table.

After they are settled in with their unappetizing trays of chicken nuggets, tater tots, and assorted almost-might-be-veggies, the class has a practice of observing 10 minutes of silence for focusing on eating before socializing takes over. During this time, only the teacher and those called on have permission to talk. Puke faces, held noses, and rolling eyes met my steaming bowl of soup. One little boy even asked if I could find another teacher to sit with them so that they didn't have to witness the misery that was my lunch.

I held fast and was amused with their disgust. They just couldn't appreciate the beauty of a pure and bright soup loaded with simple flavors that just shine. If you aren't gagging with the Second Graders, I invite you to add some Fresh Pea Soup to your menus. I am not sorry it jumped On My Plate.

Fresh Pea Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts chopped
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 (10 ounce)packages frozen peas
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup chives, chopped
garlic croutons, for serving

Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender.
Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. (Frozen peas will take only 3 minutes.)
Off the heat, add the salt, and pepper.
Puree the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and puree on low speed.
With the blender still running, open the venthole in the lid and slowly add more soup until the blender is three-quarters full.
Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until all the soup is pureed.
Whisk in the creme fraiche and chives and taste for seasoning.
Serve hot with garlic croutons. (Serves 6.)

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