Pod Pea Soup, with Little Gem lettuce

Pod Pea Soup, 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.

Pod Pea Soup, with Little Gem lettuce


  • 1 x 424g (14.96 oz) 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 (4.233 oz), 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 (4.233 oz) x Little Gem lettuce, rinsed and shredded
  • 500ml (16.91 fl oz) 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

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • 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.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. First appearance of peas…perhaps the best are yet to come. I am so curious about little gem lettuce. Your recipe looks so simple, fresh and (spicy!) I noticed the last few recipes you have posted call for keeping the chilli whole, is the overall results still a bit spicy or just a hint of the chilli flavor? This soup looks so delicious!


    • It’s just a hint if the chillies are kept whole. So this wasn’t spicy as such. As for the Little Gem’s, they’re small romaine as I couldn’t get the latter to use in this soup. Possibly not the best combination as a stronger leaf would be better. It’s all I could find last minute. Have to admit it was nice shelling all of those peas. Even if they weren’t the best quality. So wanted to photograph the process of doing so but it was getting too late!


    • If only I was there to offer to help pick those peas! I’d even throw in some back-breaking weeding as well. Not that I’m suggesting that your garden needs weeding. Yikes. No, it’s those fresh peas that will taste sublime. Apart from maybe strawberries there’s nothing to compare with those early summery flavours. Actually, I love all of the berries. And most veg 🙂
      – Darya’s recipe must’ve been wonderful with the pod-like broth. I never realised it’s possible to use them for flavouring.


  2. Pleased to see a soup post for summer veg. My peas are struggling this year but hopefully they will come. There is always plenty lettuce including little gem, so thanks for the reminder to add lettuce to soup, it really works!


    • Hah! You know how awful the weather was. And still is in your neck of the woods/islands. Oh, I bet your soup with added home-grown lettuce will taste wonderful. So much more flavourful than using the intensively reared lettuce I can buy locally. Hmm, better than nought 🙂


  3. Our peas in our garden came and went pretty fast. I had to work quickly over a few days to harvest them. The weather has just been all over the place this year and the veg are struggling.


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