Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring has (finally) sprung!  And it is my favorite season, so get ready to see tons of recipes that take advantage of all the produce - asparagus, peas, artichokes, strawberries... We had an unusually cold winter here in Atlanta, so I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was today when the high was 75.  Love it!  What I don't love, however, are the allergies that come along with the beautiful weather.  As a matter of fact, I have had some serious allergies over the past few days, and the day I made this soup I was so sick, and really just wanted comfort food.

I didn't have too high of expectations, for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, while I do like peas, I didn't know that I would like them as a main ingredient.  I also was a little unsure of the mint.  I love mint flavored desserts, but I was afraid it would overpower the delicate flavors of the vegetables.  On the contrary, I think it just gave the whole soup another boost of flavor, and it really just tasted nice and fresh.

This recipe is from Ina Garten, and its actually called Fresh Pea Soup.  However, I also added asparagus, and I topped it with some sauteed mushrooms.  I saw a similiar recipe in Better Homes and Gardens that had these as a garnish, and I loved the idea.

On a day when the temperature is in the 70's, I certainly didn't want a heavy soup with rich ingredients.  This soup was comforting and tasty, but still very light and fresh.  I gave a bite to Caroline, and she kept coming back more more!

And as shallow as it sounds, I think my favorite part of this soup is its gorgeous bright green color!

Spring Vegetable Soup
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa at Home
serves 6
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or spring onion
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5 cups freshly shelled peas (or 2 10-ounce packages of frozen peas)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or creme fraiche, or sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Heat a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-low heat.  Add the oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the leeks and onion, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the onion is tender.  After 2-3 minutes, add the asparagus, and stir often.

Add the chicken stock, and increase the heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, and add the peas.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they are tender (if using frozen peas, they will only take 3 minutes).

Take the soup off heat and add hte mint, salt, and pepper.

Place 1 cup of soup in a blender, and puree on low speed.  With the blender still running, open the venthole and slowly add more soup, a few ladles at a time.  Continue to do this until the blender is 3/4 full.  Pour the soup into a large bowl and repeat until it has all been pureed.

Melt the butter in a small skillet.  Saute the mushrooms until they are brown and softened.

Whisk in the Greek yogurt and chives, and taste for seasonings.  Serve hot, topped with mushrooms, and sprinkle with additional chives.


Janet said...

looks beautiful and delicious!! I hope your allergies are calming down. :)

Marisa said...

I love mint & peas! This looks super.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the color of that soup (and that napkin is so pretty!)

Cara said...

I really like the idea of using yogurt in the soup - and you are not superficial, I love pretty food too :)

Valen said...

This looks really good, I think I will try it soon.

Caitlin said...

Finally got around to making this tonight, and it was so good, especially with the mushroom garnish. My 18 month old daughter loved it- she didn't want her grilled cheese, just this soup!

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