with Little Gem lettuce
After such a long, arduous winter that extended way into late spring certain fruit and vegetables are just recently making their appearance in the shops, including peas in their pods. They’re sold here as pod peas which is why I’m using that term. English or garden peas in their pod is what I’m on about. And what everyone should know about is that fresh peas don’t last, from a nutritional point of view. All excepting the supermarkets, that is. How old these were is anybody’s guess. And that they came from way the other side of the country – any further and you’re talking stateside – didn’t exactly bode well. Out of sheer desperation, and as these were the only fresh peas available so far this year, I went with buying them. Even though their pods were covered in something not dissimilar to leaf worm. Which meant I couldn’t go with Darya’s post where the pods, after shelling them, are used to create a wonderful broth-like base for the soup. Call me a wuss as I wasn’t for using most of those badly marked pods, now empty, for anything other than filling the bin with them. In fact, so covered were they that I wouldn’t even compost them. As that disease would surely spread. Luckily the peas were okay. Well, okay in that they were fairly dry and not very sweet. But I had to get my fill of freshly shelled peas.
- 1 x 424g pack pod peas, after shelling them I was left with 210g fresh peas and ended up using 100g of the shelled pods
- 1 x onion (120g), halved, peeled, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 3 x organic garlic cloves, trimmed, shelled and kept whole
- 1 x small green finger chilli (Scoville rating: 50,000), washed and kept whole
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- 120g x Little Gem lettuce, rinsed and shredded
- 500ml x cold water
- 1 x organic vegetable stock cube
- seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to serve
- freshly snipped or chopped flat leaf parsley, to serve
- Shell the peas keeping the pods to one side. Trim the pods and cut out any signs of disease or blemishes.
- Pour the water into a large heavy-based saucepan and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). Add the onion, shelled pods, garlic, chilli, bay leaf and stock cube and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain the stock, retaining the garlic, chilli and bay leaf, through a metal colander into a suitable bowl. If necessary measure the stock as 500ml is needed, so do add a little more cold water if needed to gain that amount. Strain the stock again through a fine wire metal sieve into the same saucepan. Add the shredded lettuce and put on heat No 3, as well as the garlic, chilli and bay leaf. Bring to near boiling and simmer until the lettuce is wilted. Add the peas and again bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 4 – 5 minutes. The peas really shouldn’t be overcooked as they can turn yellow. Do test a couple of them and as long as they don’t have much of a bit left they should be cooked. if anything I prefer them slightly undercooked, especially as I have to store half of the soup overnight – without the chilli. Pick out the bay leaf and discard.
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