Believe it or not we do have winter in Chiang Mai. This year, as never before, a three day downpour followed by chilling winds and temperatures dipping into the single digits centigrade. That is cold in the tropics!
Soup weather and a craving for an old favorite, a thick hearty piping hot pea soup, got me into the kitchen pronto. Although the cooking time is slow the kitchen warmed up nicely and the aromas promised a homey comforting soup put on the table which never fails to warm the soul and banish the chill of winter.
Winter Pea Soup: makes 2 quarts / 1.9 liters
- 3 cups thinly sliced leeks
- 1 ½ cups diced celery
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ¼ cup tender celery leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- pinch of sea salt + 1 teaspoon added later or to taste
- 10 twists of freshly ground white pepper
- heaping tablespoon crushed dried sage leaves
- 2 quarts/1.9 liters homemade chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 18oz/525g fresh or frozen green peas
- 1 cup of warmed whole milk
- toasted croutons using bread of choice (garnish)
- celery leaves (garnish)
Place a large wide sauce pan or cast iron dutch oven over medium low heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted add the leeks and celery and toss with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to low and cook until the leeks and celery are soft, about 15 minutes, stirring now and again.
Add the garlic, celery leaves,pinch of salt, and pepper and cook another 10 minutes, stirring now and again.
Add the stock and once the soup begins to boil lower the heat to a just bubbling low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring now and again.
Add the peas to the soup and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender (or using a blender processing in batches) puree the soup until fairly smooth. Add the milk and puree until the milk is incorporated into the soup.
Taste the soup and add approximately 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste. Puree briefly to incorporate the salt into the soup.
Return the soup to the heat and bring the soup to a slow simmer and stir continuously for 5 minutes.
Serving: serve the soup piping hot garnished with croutons and celery leaves. I used olive bread for the croutons, but any bread of choice is fine.
If you plan to use the soup later, transfer to containers and set on a cooling rack until cooled to room temperature. Cover with lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for longer storage.