Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fresh Sweet Pea and Basil Soup

When you were a kid, did you mix your peas into your mashed potatoes? If you did, then you are going to love the flavors in this light - but satisfying! - soup. The lemon spiked garnish brightens the soup bowl.

2 tablespoons organic butter
1 extra large shallot, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
1 large garlic clove, Peeled and minced, about 1/2 teaspoon
1 pound fresh shelled peas, 4 cups
1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
1 quart home made chicken broth, or low sodium chicken broth
½ cup fresh basil leaves
A pinch of sea salt and a grind of fresh pepper
Reduced fat organic sour cream
Zest of 1 medium lemon, about 2 teaspoons

Melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and potato. Pour in the chicken broth. Stir in the basil leaves. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the peas and potato are soft, about 10 minutes. Cool the soup on the stove top.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. (Note: pour just a small amount of soup into your blender. Hold the top on tightly while you slowly raise the setting on the blender. Hot soup will expand immediately and try to force the top off the blender.)

Return the soup to the pot over low heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of reduced fat organic sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest.

Yield: about 6 cups
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
You can substitute with frozen peas for this recipe. Feel free to experiment with your favor herb. Dill, tarragon and the common combination of mint will all produce a wonderfully fresh soup.

Second Helpings
If you love vichyssoise, you might like to serve this soup chilled at your next luncheon. For a dramatic presentation, serve the soup in a crystal bowl, set in a slightly larger bowl filled with crushed ice.

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