Happy MLK Jr. day, everyone! Before I share this month’s Recipe Redux, I have an important picture to show you:
Remember when Peter and I made our own inexpensive standing desks from Ikea furniture? I made sure our home office versions were all white (i.e. pleasing to the eye). For Peter’s uni office, he decided to go for a more, uh … striking color combination, as you can see from the picture above. He’s already had quite a few people commenting on his black-tan-red office addition. Personally, I think he chose bright red to intimidate students coming to his office hours.
And now, for something just as important (and much tastier): Creamy Green Pea Soup with Ham.
This month’s Recipe Redux challenge:
A Trend in Every Pot – We love reading predictions for what will be hot this year on restaurant menus and in supermarkets. Pick your favorite ‘new’ food trend and add it to a pot. Take a trend and use it in a soup, stew, one-pot meal or Crock Pot recipe to warm up readers (or perhaps use a chilled pot if it’s currently summer in your part of the globe.)
And so I Googled! There are a lot of trend predictions strewn across the Internet. Some look tasty (fancy popcorn, yum!), while others are downright odd (tea and chicken are trends? Okay … ). One trend I saw over and over: the rise of vegetables as a starring ingredient in main dishes. As a dietitian, I’ll raise my soup bowl to that!
What better way to celebrate vegetables-as-main-course in January than with winter and/or frozen veggies? As I already made a winter vegetable soup for my last RR, I decided to go with frozen veggies this time. Packed with vitamins, frozen veggies are a great way to eat on the cheap.
The weather has been a bit cold and dreary around here lately, so I went for a green pea soup to cheer things up. I’ve made pea soup before, and while that one is tasty, it doesn’t have the same bright flavors as this soup. The recipe is adapted from Heston Blumenthal at Home. I had to make quite a few changes to convert this recipe into a one-pot meal. I also healthified it up by making a few swaps (e.g. olive oil for butter and low sodium ham for regular ham). Finally, feel free to add other veggies to the soup for color, taste, and nutrition (e.g. chopped tomatoes, steamed cauliflower, roasted corn).
A FINAL final cook’s note: We didn’t have mint leaves for this batch, but we’ve served this soup with mint leaves before and it is delicious! Give it a try if you have mint hanging around.
Creamy Pea Soup with Ham
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: blender soup/stew entree peas
Ingredients (6 servings)
- 30 oz. green peas, fresh or frozen
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 slices low sodium bacon
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 pound precooked low sodium ham, chopped
- Mint leaves or mint oil (optional)
If peas are frozen, pour them into two towel-lined baking sheets and allow to defrost completely, about thirty minutes. If using fresh peas, can skip this step.
Heat olive oil in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot garlic, and bacon and cook for five minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and add all but 1/3 cup of the peas.
Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, if necessary), blend soup until smooth. Return to burner over medium-low heat and add the rest of the peas and the ham. Heat through. Serve with torn mint leaves and/or mint oil drizzled on top, if desired.
P.S. Check out my guest post on Stone Soup, the blog of Food and Nutrition Magazine, which is a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In the post I talk about tackling challenges in the kitchen, as well as using a typical ingredient in an unusual way. Enjoy!