Chilled soups are one of my favorite go-to meals when the weather gets hot. It’s just so refreshing sipping on an icy cold vegetable soup when it’s too warm to even look at your oven! This chilled pea soup is both a great cold soup for those hot days and a great way to use those beautiful English peas from the farmer’s market.
That is, of course, assuming that any of the English peas last long enough for you to get them into a soup instead of being snatched up by your hungry daughter who has been waiting for them to show up again. Or is that just me? 🙂 Luckily I know she loves spring peas and can’t resist them, so I buy extra. My momma didn’t raise any fools. I use about 2 pounds of unshelled peas in this recipe, and about another half pound for the hungry masses. It seems to work out.
If you want a more rustic pea soup, and aren’t going to strain it before serving, you will want to use a smaller amount of peas than I’m calling for since chilled, pureed soups should be thinner than hot soups, and keeping all the solids in there will thicken up the soup. Lighter food for hotter days! One of these days I’ll get my vichyssoise on the site and you’ll see how super light I like that one. My chilled pea soup does have some body to it, but it’s still sippable and light.
To top the soup I went with some crisped up prosciutto, a little parsley, and creme fraiche swirls. Want to know how I made those awesome looking swirls? It’s not because I’m all perfectly artistic and can just bang out beautiful swirls. Ha. Not even a little. Nope, this is something anyone can do, including you.
Step one – Warm up the creme fraiche so that it flows off a spoon nicely. Around body temperature seems to do it. Add a drop or two of cream if it’s still a little thick.
Step two – Start drizzling the creme fraiche into a bowl of soup. Half of it sinks and the rest looks awful. Stir it into the soup.
Step three – Try again, but gently with your spoon just above the soup.
Step four – Starting from the middle of the bowl, drizzle a spiral out toward the edges of the bowl. Look at the spiral and think it looks like preschooler made it. It’s all wiggly and some of it is thick and some of it is kind of thin. But it’s okay. You’re moving onto step 5.
Step five – Get out a tooth pick and, starting from the middle of the bowl, drag the tooth pick through the spiral in a straight line out to the edge of the bowl. Oooh, that improved things.
Step six – Do that a few more times going around like spokes in a wheel.
Step seven – Stand back and admire your handiwork. Good job!
And step eight is eating the soup. A proper reward for your excellent decorating skills.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Elegant Chilled Spring Pea Soup
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb peas, 1 1/2 lb fresh peas in their pods
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 slices prosciutto, optional
- 2 oz creme fraiche
- Melt the butter in a medium pot on low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add peas, parsley, and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and keep the soup at a moderate boil for 5 minutes. Let the soup cool for a few minutes in the pot, then add the cream. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the soup through the strainer, stirring and pressing down on the solids to push all the liquid through. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Before serving, if you using the prosciutto, heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Tear up the prosciutto slices into bite sized pieces. Add them to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the prosciutto is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. And, in a small saucepan, heat the creme fraiche over low heat until it's liquid, also about 5 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into four bowls. Swirl some of the creme fraiche into each bowl and then top with crispy prosciutto and a little chopped parsley.
- Pureeing: Be careful when pureeing the soup if it's still hot. I let it cool enough so that the soup is warm, but not hot, before I put it in the blender.
- Chilling the Soup: For an extra chilled soup, transfer the soup to the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Vegetarian Option: Omit the prosciutto and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup.
- Creme Fraiche Substitute: Can't find creme fraiche at the store? Mix together equal amounts of sour cream and heavy cream (both full fat!) and let them sit, covered on the counter for 4-5 hours. I do it all the time and it works great.