Curried Pea Soup with Frizzed Ginger
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, cut into small dice
- 1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
- 1 leek (white part only) well washed, quartered, and thinly sliced crosswise
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 quarts homemade vegetable stock, recipe follows, or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth, hot
- Herb sachet of 1 bay leaf and 2 thyme sprigs, tied in cheesecloth
- 3 cups fresh shelled peas (from 2 1/2 pounds peas in the pod)
- 1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- Frizzled Ginger, recipe follows
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until they are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, stir, and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the stock and herb sachet to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and let simmer until the vegetables have completely softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Use tongs to remove and discard the herb sachet.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot, or puree it in batches in a standing blender, then return the soup to the pot over medium heat. Stir in the creme fraiche, being careful not to let the soup return to a boil. (If you like, reserve a few tablespoons of the creme fraiche to drizzle over each serving.)
Divide soup among individual bowls and serve at once, topping each serving with a drizzle of creme fraiche, if desired, and a few pieces of frizzled ginger.Vegetable Stock:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, quartered
1/2 head celery, roughly chopped
1 large leek, split, well washed, and cut into large pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (15.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 pounds Idaho or russet potatoes, quartered
5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed stockpot or lobster pot. Add all the other ingredients and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the vegetables have all softened but not colored, about 15 minutes. Pour in 6 quarts water, raise the heat to high, and bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and let the liquid simmer for 2 hours.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer set over a large bowl or pot, pressing down on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible. Let the stock cool, then refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze in batches to be thawed and used as needed.
Yield: 5 quartsFrizzled Ginger:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 knob ginger (about 4 ounces)
Fine sea salt
Pour oil into a small pot and heat to 265 degrees F.
Adds the ginger crisps to the oil, frying them until crispy, about 1 minute; use a slotted spoon to remove them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Salt as soon as it hits the paper. These crisps can be held at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Recipe courtesy Michael Lomonaco, "Nightly Specials", William Morrow, 2004