Thursday, April 2, 2009

Petite Pea Soup with Toasted Pine Nuts

For lunch yesterday, I wanted something warm and filling ---because it was rainy and cold here -- but also something Spring-like --- so I settled on making a pea soup from a bag of frozen petite peas. Start to finish this soup only takes 20 minutes. Easy, peasy.

Slice a large onion thinly.

Chop up the tenderest part of a stalk of celery. The whitest, smallest stalks and their leaves.

Saute them together until the onions begin to wilt.

I added just a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt at this stage.

Petite peas are much sweeter than regular peas. I usually have a bag in the freezer.

I knew I needed to add a spice for interest, so I smelled my spices until I found one that seemed to fit the celery, pea and onion aroma coming from the pot. To my surprise, it was Zatar, the new spice I bought at Penzeys. So, now I am going to have research what it is---

Add a 1 1b. container of chicken stock ---or enough broth to just cover the peas---bring it quickly to a boil, cover it, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Cool slightly, then blend with a hand mixer or in a regular blender until smooth. Stir in 1/2 -2/3 cup of light cream or low-fat evaporated milk. Meanwhile, toast some pine nuts. Ladle the soup into a bowl and place 1 T. toasted pine nuts in each bowl. The nuts add interest, texture and some protein.

What is Zatar?
It's Middle Eastern in origin. Penzeys' version is hand-mixed from: sumac, thyme leaves, white sesame seeds and salt.

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