Kelsey Nixon's pea soup in her new cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, is a perfect example of resourceful pantry cooking. If you keep frozen peas in stock (which, really, you should), you'll likely only need to grab a couple of basics—scallions and chicken broth—and you'll have this bright, zippy soup ready to eat in 30 minutes. Sure, you can get fancy with your toppings by adding crème fraîche and a few sprigs of tender pea shoots to the serving bowls. At its heart, though, Nixon's soup celebrates the simple, pure sweetness of baby peas adorned only with a bit of cream and butter.
Why I picked this recipe: Frozen peas have always been one of my favorite pantry ingredients, so it didn't take any convincing for me to make this soup.
What worked: Dead simple and super tasty, this soup was a breeze to make and a joy to eat.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: Yogurt or sour cream will work as a garnish if you can't find creme fraiche. Garnishing the soup with just the scallion greens is a great solution if you can't find pea shoots. If you want to make the soup dairy-free, you could sauté the scallions in olive oil or coconut oil. Coconut milk would make a lovely substitute for the cream, but you could also leave it out entirely.
Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. Copyright 2014. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (white and green parts kept separate)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen petite peas
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
- Pea shoots, for garnish (optional)
In a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the scallion whites, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the peas and half of the scallion greens (reserving the rest for garnish). Simmer until the peas are thawed and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s semi-smooth but still has some texture. (Alternatively, puree the soup in batches in a standard blender.)
Return the soup pot to medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream and stir well. Cook until the soup is warmed through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with crème fraîche and pea shoots, if desired.