Pea and mint and leek soup with bacon, basil oil

Soup might be a liquid, and therefore to some not a real meal. However, some of the best things in life come in liquid (examples of good liquid based things: chocolate milk, beer, and blended up any other foods). Soups are really good, you can make them and then chuck it in the freezer, and then you’ve got delicious liquid meals whenever you need.

Pea and mint is a classic soup. Add in some leeks and bacon and you’ve got yourself a whole new kettle of soup.

This is a perfect light summer soup, but add enough bacon in and it can be turned into a much more hearty beast that will heat you up when it’s all chilly outside. It is also neon green, which is both a nice change from blander colours and also just looks kind of cool. I don’t think there are many other foods that you will eat that will be more colourful.

Finally to make it look super pro, and also take it to a new taste dimension, make a really easy basil oil and drizzle that stuff all over to make some soupy gastronomic art.

Ingredients

  • 400g bag of frozen peas (you can use fresh peas too, these are obviously tastier, but much more expensive and take time to shell)
  • 1l of chicken stock
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 onions, (chopped finely)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 lemon
  • Couple of rashers of streaky bacon

For the Basil oil Dressing.

  • Bunch of Basil
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • Virgin olive oil

 

In a large saucepan/ stewing pot on a medium heat add the butter, olive oil, the finely chopped onions and a crushed clove of garlic. Sweat these down so that they are translucent and nice and soft. While these are getting nice and soft remove the dark green outer layers of the leeks, and chop up the nice tender inner leek into regular sized disks. Add these to the onions and garlic and also add the juice of half a lemon as well as a bit of lemon zest. This is just a personal preference so if you don’t like the sound of it leave the citrus out.

Season this now mushy, but delicious smelling liquid with salt and pepper and add in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Next grab your pea bag and pour it into the mix along with a good handful of mint. Mix the whole mixture around so everything is getting to know one another, and is incorporated as a whole. This is essentially your soup, you just need to make it a smoother texture. Simmer this mixture for another 5 minutes to make sure the flavours are perfect.

In a pre-heated grill, or oven, add your bacon strips on a baking tray. You want this to get really crispy so that you can break it apart by hand.

While the bacon is getting nice and crispy, begin to blend your soup mix in a food processor. If the mixture is still really hot, remember to leave the small whole in the top of the food processor and cover with a tea-towel to avoid burning your digits. You will probably have to do this in a few batches so make sure you have another bowl to put the now blended mix into. The mixture should be nice and luminous green so don’t worry that the colour is kind of insane. If you want to be really fancy pass the now blended mix through a fine sieve to give a really smooth texture.

Re-taste and make sure it’s seasoned nicely. The soup is now ready to eat, keep it on the hob keeping warm while you prepare the rest. Get out your now crispy bacon and break into small chunks and place in a separate bowl.

In a now clean food processor add the basil leaves from a whole bunch as well as half a clove of garlic. Begin to blend and pour in olive oil until you have a consistency you think looks like oil. This oil is super fragrant and is essentially pesto, without the cheese or pine nuts and can be used on salads, or as a dressing on other things.

Now bring the green pea mixture all together, put it into a bowl, crack over some bacon and drizzle over some of the oil and impress basically anyone.

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