Friday, October 5, 2007

Easy Peasy: Nigella Lawson's Easy Pea Soup

(Before we get started with today's recipe - a happy, happy "hi" to y'all coming over from Meredith's blog, Like Merchant Ships. She was extremely generous with her linkage, and for that, I'm way grateful.)

“Pea Soup” is a less-than-appetizing title for anything about to be placed on a dining room table. On the upper end of the intellectual spectrum, guests will confuse it with fog. At the lower end, your company may never stop giggling. Yet, this version, from Nigella Lawson (as interpreted by Serious Eats) will make friends, family, and pets forget all about the name.

Boasting a lovely, Kermit-reminiscent shade of green and a staggering prep time of 15 minutes (five of them spent doing dishes), Nigella's Pea Soup is one of the simplest, most rewarding comestibles I’ve ever had the pleasure of wolfing down (the other being Bobby Flay’s Parmesan Crusted Portobello Mushrooms with White Truffle Oil).

Fast dishes aren’t supposed to be this good. Cheap ones shouldn’t taste this classy. Peas legendarily suck. Yet, against all odds, Nigella won my heart. And possibly my Boyfriend. He loved it, especially paired with lasagna and a crunchy side salad.

Next time you have to prepare an upscale soup at breakneck speed, try it out. A few suggestions, though:
  1. Puree the everloving heck out of it. Otherwise, you’re left with a slightly mealy texture that becomes less appealing with every leftover sampling.
  2. Should you go heavy on the cheese, ease up on salt. Parm is kind of salty anyway, and its flavor shines through in the dish.
  3. If you have an aversion to, allergy of, or deep-seated enmity toward peas, it might be best to skip the soup entirely.
P.S. I paid a ridiculous amount for both the stock and the peas (which I thought were on sale), so I’m thinking that a better shopper could make this cost about half the price that I did.

Easy Pea Soup
4 servings – 2/3 c each
Adapted from Nigella Lawson/Serious Eats.

2 cups vegetable stock
3 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Olive oil
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese

1) In a medium saucepan, heat stock over medium-low heat. Pour in peas and cook until just tender.

2) In a blender, process peas and stock until totally smooth. When almost finished, add balsamic vinegar and mix a little more.

3) Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped off with a little olive oil and paremesan cheese (1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of parmesan per serving worked well for me. - Kris)

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
131 calories, 3 g fat, $0.71

2 cups vegetable stock: 30 calories, 0 g fat, $1.09
3 cups frozen peas: 374 calories, 1.3 g fat, $1.43
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar: 10 calories, 0 g fat, $0.07
Salt and pepper: negligible fat and calories, $0.03
2 teaspoons Olive oil: 80 calories, 9 g fat, $0.06
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese: 28 calories, 1.9 g fat, $0.14
TOTAL: 522 calories, 12.2 g fat, $2.82
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 131 calories, 3 g fat, $0.71

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Anna S said...

I must try that. My fiance loves pea soup.

Jessica J. said...

Hey! I made my own version of this based on your (awesome) post and wanted to give you mad props for sharing - it was super delicious and easy. Thanks!

Ginger said...

YUMMY! As a recent vegetarian I was concerned that it wouldn't hold up in comparison to regular split pea soup made with a ham bone. No need to worry, this surpassed it in flavor superiority. Thanks again for sharing.

Bryan said...

Delicious and simple! I'd never made pea soup before but I definitely see myself making this again!

Amanda said...

I cooked up two pieces of bacon (while the broth heated up) and threw this in the blender. I buy the "bits and pieces" bacon in bulk and divide it into small sandwich bags. It fezzes well and adds flavor to recipes like this without adding much money. If you do this, don't add any salt and go easy on the bacon & cheese to save on calories.

Gretchen said...

This was really nice and simple. I think I'll use a bit less balsamic vinegar next time, it was a touch too strong for me.
I'm excited to see how the leftovers taste!