Fresh peas are difficult to come by most of the year, but English chef Jamie Oliver has no problem substituting frozen peas for this simple soup.
Pea and Mint Soup
from Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Food Revolution" (Hyperion)
A delicious soup which is lovely hot, or cold with a squeeze of lemon juice in the summer. My wife likes hers with a portion of fries on the side, to dip into the soup – naughty but nice!
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 ¾ quarts chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic
5 ½ cups frozen peas
A small bunch of fresh mint
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: ¾ pound cooked ham, preferably free-range or organic
To make your soup
Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients to the pan and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your peas. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pick your mint leaves.
To serve your soup
When the peas have softened, remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the mint leaves. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. If using ham, chop it and stir it in. heat through before dividing between your serving bowls. Really nice served with a toasted slice of ciabatta, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.