Spring Pea Soup

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 45 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 30 min
YIELD: 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leek, white and pale green parts only
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock mixed with 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 cups shelled English peas (about 4 1/2 pounds unshelled)
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered ascorbic acid (1 tablet vitamin C crushed)
  • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Creme fraiche, basil oil, finely sliced fresh chives, or prosciutto bits, optional
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      Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and let it sizzle for about 1 minute, then add the sliced white and pale green parts of the leek and celery. Stir often while cooking until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Do not let them color. Then pour the diluted stock into the saucepan and bring to a simmer.

      Add the cream to the vegetable mixture and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and return to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the peas are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme and simmer for 1 minute longer, then remove from the heat. Transfer in batches to a blender with the ascorbic acid and puree, adding more of the stock-water mixture as needed to thin the soup to a pleasing consistency. Pour soup into a bowl set in an ice bath and stir until cooled. (we want to cool it down as quickly as possible) Serve soup with optional garnishes.

      Chef's Tip: Ascorbic acid helps keep the green color in pureed herbs and vegetables. If you have vitamin C tablets on hand, just crush one with a rolling pin and add it to the mixture in the blender. Note that you'll need a blender to puree the soup. A food processor doesn't make it smooth enough.


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