This is my entry for No Croutons Required.
I always wondered what the phrase pea-soup fog meant. I've lived in Delhi which gets pretty thick fog in winters but why the pea soup part was a mystery until I actually got doen to making some. We get fabulously fresh peas here in winter - sweet, juicy and flavourful - and it's one of the big pleasures of a winter afternoon to sit in the watery afternoon sunshine and unpeel the pale green jewels, popping more than a few into one's mouth along the way.
I hate the way most cooks end up over-cooking peas so that they become hard little pellets with no taste or savour. I like to cook them so their flavour remains either intact or becomes enhanced. We had pea soup for dinner last night and just had enough so A and I could warn our insides on this cold evening with the rest. It's green, deliciously sweet and spicy, and yes, thick enough to qualify as a fog. try it - it's easy and a guaranteed child pleaser.
2 kilos of peas ( makes about a kilo and quarter when podded, enough for 6 people)
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1.2 litres of veg stock
Teaspoon of sage, rosemary, thyme and marjoram
Salt and crushed pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
Tablespoon of butter
One tablespoon of olive oil
Half a bunch of spinach leaves ( around 20 of them), shredded finely
In a deep pan, put in the butter and half the olive oil. Wait till the butter melts and put in the chopped onions and garlic. Wait till the onions turn transparent and add the peas into the pan. Add a cup of the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are really soft and melty. Add the herbs and take off the stove.
After the mixture is cool, blend it in the mixer until it becomes a fine paste. Put the paste back into the pan and add the rest of the water, salt, sugar and pepper and heat it until it comes to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat the other half tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Put in the spinach shreds and cook on high until the shreds wilt. Put them into the hot soup and serve, with croutons on the side.