Simple Garden Soup

It’s always a bonus when I see the option to use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in a recipe. While I love the fresh stuff, I am a busy working mom! The option to use what’s on reserve in my own freezer is nice.

For this delicate and delicious Fresh Spring Pea Soup, you can gather up the peas from your garden or go ahead and use up one of the open bags frozen peas in your freezer. Put your herb garden to use when you season the homemade croutons that accompany this soup or you can buy a hearty store-bought crouton for the toppings. It’s your choice!

Fresh Spring Pea Soup

What you’ll need…
Serves 8
For the soup

1 Tablspoon olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups fresh spring peas or frozen baby peas
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sour cream (options)

For the croutons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed herbs, such as chives, parsley, savory, rosemary and thyme
3 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, cubed into 1-inch pieces

Get started…
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute the shallots until softened, about 2 minutes.
3.  Add potato and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken broth and simmer until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
4.  In the meantime, make the croutons. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add herbs and saute until fragrant. Remove from heat and toss with bread cubes. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Season with salt and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Check on croutons every 5 minutes and stir to ensure even browning. Cool croutons on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
5.  Add peas to the broth mixture and simmer until peas are just cooked through, about 2 minutes.
6.  Blend with a hand blender right in the pot, or transfer in batches to a blender (be careful when blending hot liquids). Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer. Place back in pot to reheat. If soup is too thin at this point, you can simmer uncovered to reduce it to the desired consistency. Season with salt and white pepper. Add croutons.
7.  Add a dollop of sour cream to the soup along with the herbed croutons.

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