Spring Pea Soup
Yay, another pea soup! I knew that was what you were going to say. We’ve had a week of spring-emerging: from chill to rain to sunny days which means the buds and grass are finally beginning to explode in greenery. I even saw blooming wildflowers in the woods on my walk yesterday. And spring means green soup, yes?
Green it is.
The bones of this recipe were resurrected from a 1984 Café Beaujolais cookbook by Margaret Fox. My friend Frances passed along a signed copy of the book that I think came from her mother’s cookbook collection and I’ve been perusing through the pages lately.
The café was started in 1969 by Gerald and Ellen Pitzenbarger in an adorable house in the town of Mendocino along the coast of northern California. Margaret Fox purchased the business in 1977 and became one of the early pioneers of California-cuisine and garden-fed kitchens. Starting out serving breakfast and lunch then eventually adding dinner they created a destination experience: it was real food; it was hearty and delicious; it was fresh; it was atmosphere; it was full of characters; it was northern California.
In the first half of the book Margaret describes what it means to run a restaurant, giving a glimpse into the world behind the scenes of the restaurant show. Not as juicy and in-depth as Anthony Bourdain…but a glimpse nonetheless.
Forty six years later it is now owned and operated by Chef David LaMonica, carrying on the French-California style of fresh ingredients and fabulous California wines. Restaurants are such incredibly insane and difficult ventures…I am grateful for all who are inspired enough to keep going! Kiss your favorite restauranteur today.
I made a few alterations but the same hearty warming quality of the soup remains…and I did not skimp on the butter. Cheers to Margaret.
Spring Pea Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Sauté in a soup pot:
1/2 cup Butter
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, chopped
When onions become translucent, stir in:
2 Tablespoons Rice Flour
After a few minutes add:
4 1/2 cups Chicken Stock (or Vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste—it depends on the stock that is used)
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Pinch or two of Cayenne
Simmer for a few minutes. Add:
4 cups Peas, frozen
1 cup Spinach
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, grated
Simmer for a few more minutes then remove from heat.
Let cool slightly, then puree.
1/2 – 3/4 cup Heavy Cream
Taste and adjust
When reheating the soup be careful that you don’t bring it to a boil once the heavy cream has been added — it may curdle. This makes about 8 cups.
Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of:
Chevre Goat Cheese or Crème fraîche
You’re getting to know my dishes… ceramic bowl by Steve Tamari when he was a student at Scattergood School in the 1970’s, and wooden spoon by Frank Wright.