Spring Pea Soup with Bacon and Chives  Recipe
Spring Pea Soup with Bacon and Chives

At last, days are getting longer, temperatures are climbing, and many yards are boasting patches of green, even flowers. Spring is officially here, and if you're ready for new, lighter fare, like I am, you'll be tempted by Spring Pea Soup with Bacon and Chives.

This potage does not take long to assemble and is even better when made a day ahead. The taste of sweet peas (fresh or frozen both work well) is dominant in this creamy, celadon-hued creation. They are simmered in chicken broth along with chopped leeks and diced potatoes. This cooked pea and leek mixture is then pureed and enriched with swirls of creme fraiche. A sprinkling of bits of crispy bacon and snipped chives make flavorful garnishes for each serving.

For entertaining, you could serve this delicious soup as an opener for a spring dinner or pair it with a sandwich or salad for a light supper or lunch. You could even offer small cups of this delectable bisque at a brunch. However you use it, this recipe will remind guests that a new season has indeed arrived.

Spring Pea Soup with Bacon and Chives

Serves 6.

4 slices bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 medium leeks)

5 cups fresh or frozen peas, defrosted and patted dry (see note)

2 small potatoes (about 8 ounces total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Kosher salt

5 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup creme fraiche, divided (see note)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Saute the bacon in a medium-sized pot over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; remove to drain on a paper towel. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and add butter. When melted, add leeks and saute, stirring until softened, for about 4 minutes. Add peas, potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir a few seconds more. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are very tender, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Puree soup in a food processor, blender or food mill, and return it to the pot. Or use an immersion blender to puree soup in the pot. Whisk in 1/2 cup creme fraiche, then the cayenne pepper. Taste and season with more salt if needed. (Soup can be made 1 day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring, over medium-low heat.)

Ladle soup into 6 soup bowls and garnish the center of each serving with a dollop of the remaining creme fraiche, and with a sprinkle of bacon and chives.

Note: Two and a half 10-ounce packages frozen peas will yield approximately 5 cups. For fresh peas, 1 pound in shell equals about 1 cup.

Note: Creme fraiche is available in the dairy section of many supermarkets.


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Spring Pea Soup with Bacon and Chives Recipe

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