Thursday, April 1, 2010

spring soup

I realized that I'm a soup kind of gal. I love the comforting feeling you get from soup - whether it's something you made yourself, or a soup that someone else made for you. Whether I'm healthy, or feeling sick. Soup is a great way to make a nutrient-dense meal. I love the scents in the kitchen as the soup simmers on the stove. And I also love the creative process behind soup: take a look at the content of your fridge and pantry, and then throw some ingredients in a pot, and make a good soup come to life.

It's been fairly warm this past week, but I was in the mood for a light, springy soup.

Here's what I ended up with:

Pea Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Earth Balance, or unsalted butter
half an onion
2 stalks celery
about 4 cups vegetable broth
one bag of frozen green peas, thawed
salt and pepper
a little lemon zest
fresh thyme (chop the leaves from 3-4 sprigs; use less if using dried)
plain yogurt - I LOVE this yogurt from Kalona Organics*

Heat olive oil and butter. I like using both for soups, because butter has such a low smoke point and burns faster, and the olive oil helps slow it down a little bit. Saute the onions and the celery until soft and fragrant. Add the broth and peas. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and thyme. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (I love these things). Alternatively, you can also use a regular blender - just blend it in smaller batches.

Stir in a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt at the end. I think creme fraiche or mascarpone cheese would be good too, but yogurt was the only thing I had, and I wanted to use the last of it.

It turned out REALLY good! It was so simple, quick, and easy yet so flavorful. The green peas tasted sweet, and I think the hint of lemon and thyme brightened it up even more. Lemon and thyme go so well together, I think, because thyme has some hints of lemon flavor/scent. The texture was really smooth and silky as well, thanks to the hand blender. Not to mention its beautiful shade of green.

In hindsight, I wish I had garnished it better with a dollop of yogurt on top and maybe some snipped chives to make it more photo-worthy... but I couldn't wait to eat it. :)

*Note on the yogurt:
Cultural Revolution yogurt from Kalona Organics is my favorite - it's creamy goodness. Well, it is a whole-milk yogurt, but I promise it's worth it. Fat-free yogurt just does NOT do it for me... nor does the overly sweet (read: high fructose corn syrup), artificially-fruit-flavored "fat-free" yogurt. Cultural Revolution yogurt is a bit hard to find, but Greek yogurt is great too and more readily available in most stores.
Yes, this yogurt is so good it deserved an * for further elaboration. :)

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