Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Soup: part II

I guess you could call this part of my ‘soup series.’ Just look here, that might explain things. So, the second soup I’m posting is one that I’ve started making frequently, because it’s so easy, uses readily available ingredients (at least in Spain, but I’m sure you could find some substitute for jamón, even bacon would be good). And I love it because it’s creamy without using loads of cream or butter. Not that I’m the type of person to shy away from creamy, rich soups, but I guess it’s a good thing when I find one that doesn’t involve lots of fatty dairy stuff and still satisfies me. And I feel kind of healthy afterwards…kind of. It’s pea soup, sprinkled with a bit of ham and mint, so you have some fresh, green things in there, but still, it’s nice and thick because at the end you give it a good whirl with the hand blender. I strongly recommend it if you’re experiencing cold or even cool weather and need something comforting.

Pea Soup with Jamón and Mint
From Moro the Cookbook

4 Tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh (honestly, I didn’t have these the past few times I made it and it still turned out wonderful)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
150 g jamón Serrano (cured ham), finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint
500 g podded peas, fresh or frozen (I always used frozen)
1 liter chicken stock
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion, and when it has turned golden add the carrot and bay leaves. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, two-thirds of the jamón and half the mint. Give everything a good stir, fry for another minute or so, then add the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the stock. Simmer gently until the peas are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the extra jamón and mint on top.

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