Fresh markets and produce aisles showcase peas of all types every spring and early summer. If you garden you may find yourself like me with an excess of snap peas and sugar snap peas. They are so good, and yes, so good for you. One of my favorite, and different way to use fresh pea pods is in a soup. Even if you shell your peas, don’t toss the empty pods. These are the base for this fantastic soup. The soup tastes so fresh. Delicious hot, and refreshing served cold, it also freezes well. As you read through the ingredients you will notice it is very low-fat. You can control the salt you add to make it sodium-friendly as well.
1 3/4 cups of pea pods, cleaned and snipped into 1/2 inch pieces. (Use the pods with or without the interior peas.)
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely grated onion
2 cups milk (I use fat-free milk. A combination of milk and 1/2 & 1/2 will add richness.)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
**If you prefer a thicker soup, mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch blended in 1/4 cup milk to make a smooth liquid. Strain if needed.
Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and/or fresh mint for garnish.
In a pot cook the snipped pea shells, water or stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt on medium-high heat. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook about 8 minutes or until the pea pod pieces are very tender. Using an immersion hand blender, blend the pod and cooking liquid until smooth and no noticeable pieces remain. (If using a counter-top blender, be careful blending hot ingredients in a blender. Follow manufacturer directions.) Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the milk, lemon juice, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Add the grated onion. Stir in the whole peas. ** Slowly stir in the cornstarch and milk mixture for a thicker soup. Cook 12 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. If serving cold, a garnish of mint leaves adds a refreshing touch.