Pea and Apple Soup

For obvious reasons I'm thinking about simple, comforting food at the moment and this soup fits the bill for me. But I also find myself looking back to better times and, for various happy reasons, I've ventured westward to Devon a number of times in the last decade. While in that fine county I ate an abundance of excellent food. In fact, I enjoyed some of the very best meals I've ever eaten and, believe me, I've eaten a LOT of fine meals in my life.
Devon CollageThis recipe, though, dates back to much earlier visits. I first bumped into this soup somewhere in Devon (I can't remember exactly where) back in the 1980s. To be honest, this probably isn't quite as rich as the original. I suspect that there were a copious few dollops of fine Devon butter and cream involved back in those more indulgent times.

The good news is that this recipe might just be possible with what you have in your cupboards, fruit bowl and freezer. It works very well when made with frozen peas and any type of eating apple but, if you have a choice, it's best to use an apple variety which has a little acidity as well as plenty of flavour such as a nicely ripened Cox. You will need some cider, though, and, if at all possible, choose a sweeter style of cider for this soup. Modern ciders tend to be dry or very dry which are great for drinking but less good for traditional cooking like this. If you don't have any mint than you can leave it out, although the fresh, young leaves popping up in gardens at the moment will make a real difference to the flavour if you can find some.
Pea and Apple Soup
This will make around 1.2 litres and should serve four people (or more if you're serving very delicate starter portions). You really don't have to be too precise about the measurements in the recipe since the type of apple will produce a lot of variation in the flavour. Just adapt the amounts given to suit your taste.


1 medium onion peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
150 ml cider, preferably a sweeter style
2 or 3 eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (around 250 g of apple flesh)
500 g peas (frozen will be OK)
40 g blanched hazelnuts
700 ml of light chicken or vegetable stock
10 fresh mint leaves


In a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in a little oil until softened.  Add the cider and reduce by about a half. Add the peas, apples and hazelnuts and pour in the stock.  I prefer to make the soup with a light chicken stock but vegetable stock will be fine too. Bring to a simmer, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for around 25 minutes until the contents are fully softened.

Add the mint leaves and liquidise the soup thoroughly. You can pass the liquidised soup through a sieve if you think it needs it.

Adjust the seasoning and add a dash or two of lemon juice if the soup seems a little too sweet. A few dots of reduced balsamic vinegar and a few drops of hazelnut oil will finish the soup quite nicely if you have them and if you're feeling fancy.

Comments

  1. Making soup always makes me feel better, even more so at the moment. This one sounds delicious and I can see us serving it as a starter at our very first opportunity to hold a dinner party. Goodness only knows when that might be, which is rather a depressing thought. Still, as long as we have a garden to sit in and peas in the freezer that gives us a head start on some people and I try to remember that.

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    1. I must admit that I'm very grateful to have a working freezer at this time and equally grateful to have a garden. Although I haven't done too much sitting in the garden recently, I've spent most of the time hacking back overgrown shrubs and trying to alleviate the damage caused by pigeons and winter rain.

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  2. Phil, this soup sounds wonderful! And your photo is excellent. It's hard to get a good photo of pea soup. For some reason, it is just not a photogenic subject. Gorgeous!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words about the photo, but I must admit that this was due to luck rather than skill. Soups are rarely photogenic.

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  3. Now I know what to do with the bag of peas lurking in the back of the freezer| Thanks Phil.

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    Replies
    1. I think frozen veg must be having a bit of a revival at present and, unless I pick my own fresh peas and cook them quickly, I reckon that frozen peas are always the best choice.

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