I spontaneously joined Ali on a trip to Costco (and Olive Garden) recently. While there, I picked up a bag of shelled fresh peas -- 20 oz. worth -- without a clear thought as to what I'd do with them, though split pea soup with ham was on my mind, as it usually is at this time of year, especially when we've had ham at Christmas... so why not fresh peas? I did a little searching and found this recipe for Ham & Fresh Pea Soup, which I changed very little.
HAM & FRESH PEA SOUP
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp pesto
4 medium potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
10-12 sprigs fresh thyme tied together w/kitchen string
I used fresh oregano because it's what was on hand;
a blend of fresh herbs would probably work great
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
20 oz fresh or frozen baby peas
2 c. fresh spinach
3-4 c. diced ham
Feta cheese & fresh thyme for garnish, if desired
I sprinkled some grated parmesan on top
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot. Add shallots & cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; add pesto &cook, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, herbs, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil & cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Remove tied herbs & bay leaf. Add spinach & peas and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to blend to desired texture; I like my vegetables a little chunky. If a smooth texture is desired, a traditional blender would be more efficient (but work in batches & be careful because the soup is hot).
Add the ham and stir well to combine & heat. Taste & add seasonings if needed. Serve hot, garnished with cheese & fresh herbs, if desired.
>>This soup was SO GOOD! Ann & family were over for dinner last night and even the boys liked it.
Recent grocery list
I've been meaning to type up my riff on a Chicken & Rice Soup recipe for Ali. The original is from NYT Cooking (a separate subscription to which I will definitely keep if I ever unsub from the Sunday paper delivery). I made it for her & the kids and it was so easy... but I felt it needed a little (kid-friendly) improvement.
CHICKEN & RICE SOUP WITH CELERY (& CARROTS) & PARSLEY
8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 stalks celery, leaves reserved, stalks diced
2 carrots, diced
My addition to this recipe -- which I did not do but definitely will in the future
3/4 c. unrinsed jasmine rice
1/2 c. fresh parsley leaves
1/2 fresh lemon, zested & juiced
I used a little Penzey's lemon peel (powder) and juiced the lemon
(because it's easier*)
In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine broth, chicken, celery, carrots & rice. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce heat & simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice starts to break down, 20-30 minutes.
Finely chop together the parsley & celery leaves.
When chicken is cooked, transfer it from the pot to a medium bowl using tongs. Using two forks, shred the chicken, the return it to the soup along with the parsley & celery leaves.
*The original recipe instructs to make a mixture from the parsley/celery leaves with lemon & garlic that is used to garnish the soup. Um, first of all, that part didn't register when I read through the recipe, and secondly, there's no way the kids would eat soup with a dollop of green stuff in it -- they balked at the sliced celery! So I just threw the chopped leaves into the soup. One thing it really needed was a little color, so I'll be adding carrots next time! And dicing the celery... so it doesn't look as much like celery!
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I saw this How to Get Unstuck quiz today and quickly skimmed it... nodding YES to every item in Question #2, and finding that so humorous that I couldn't even move on. Haha.
I hope you all have a great weekend... maybe with soup!