Fresh Pea and Fennel Soup with Mint

Finding English peas at my market inspired me to make this special springtime soup. I also found large spring scallions and fennel which are naturals with peas. I like the dark flecks of green from the chopped fresh mint that I added before pureeing the vegetables. I like this soup served warm and I like it thick and blended on the chunkier side. However, the soup can be thinned with more broth. Fresh pea soup is a nice starter for a spring dinner party featuring leg of lamb for the entrée or all by itself with fresh bread like, Italian Rosemary Buns. This is a simple soup to make with the only time consuming part being the shelling of the fresh peas and they can be substituted with frozen petite peas.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium shallots, sliced thin, I used my Cuisinart for all slicing
3 large spring scallions, sliced thin
2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups shelled fresh English peas ( about 3-4 pounds of peas in pods)
4-5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, add shallots, spring onions, fennel and garlic. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add the peas and stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the chicken stock. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until peas are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Cool the soup before adding the fresh mint. Purée the soup in batches in a blender or with a stick blender in the soup pot. Thin the soup with additional chicken stock if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. This soup can be made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Ladle into a soup tureen or individual bowls and garnish with mint.
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