Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cory's Chilled Pea Soup with Sour Cream & Bacon

Fresh, vibrant and bursting with flavour, Chilled Pea Soup must to be one of the most refreshing ways to start any summer meal. There are many ways to 'gild this luscious lily' such as my friend Cory's sensational Chilled Pea Purée Soup with Sour Cream & Bacon. Sautéed onions, leeks and butter are the base for this elegant starter, to which chicken stock, peas and mint are added, then puréed until smooth. Half a cup of sour cream is blended into the soup for extra richness, then refrigerated until well chilled. Just prior to serving, Cory diced some extra thick 1/4-inch thick bacon he had custom cut at the butcher, and then sautéed in a cast iron frying pan until cooked through but still tender. Nestled in a small mound in each soup bowl and topped with a dollop of sour cream, Cory ladled a generous serving of his Chilled Pea Soup overtop and garnished with a sprinkle of chopped chives from our garden. The combination of flavours were outstanding, and the hidden salty, smokey, creamy treasure at the bottom was a stroke of umami brilliance. This recipe is a keeper!

Cory's Chilled Pea Soup with Sour Cream, Bacon Lardons & Chives
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, about 2 leeks
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups chicken stock
2 10-ounce packages frozen peas
2/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4-inch thick strips bacon, about 2-3 slices, cut into 1/2-inch lardons
1/2 cup freshly chopped chives, plus more for garnish

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 minutes, until the peas are tender. Remove the plot from the heat, add the mint, and season with salt and pepper. 

Purée the soup in batches: place 1 cup of soup in a blender, place the lid on top, and purée on low speed. With the blender still running, open the vent 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 puréed. Whisk in the sour cream or crème fraîche, and chives and taste for seasoning. Chill until ready to serve.

An hour or so before serving, sauté the bacon pieces in a small frying pan until cooked through but still tender. Drain on a paper towel and reserve. To serve, place a small mound of bacon in the middle of each soup bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche. Ladle the chilled soup over the bacon and garnish with chopped chives.