Friday, 14 September 2012

Peas, broad bean & leek soup with spicy croutons

Ages ago (well, in 2008) I have found very interesting recipe for peas and leek soup by British chef, author of several cook books and boss of the cookery school, well know from BBC programs Lesley Waters  (a former Head Master in Leith's Cookery School). Since then I have been making this soup on a regular basis, it became one of my favourite soups, however over the years I have modified the recipe slightly. Also this time I used bread beans, as I have a surplus from my garden and I know it seems a bit late for fresh peas and broad beans  but believe me or not last Wednesday I picked probably the last peas this year and quite a lot of broad beans are still remaining in my garden... However this soup is also delicious when made with frozen peas, and frozen broad beans are available in UK all year round (anyway these are only optional for this soup; most of the time I make it with peas and leek only). By the way, frozen peas is one of few frozen vegetables that taste as good as fresh. I always have a bag in my freezer. If you use frozen peas make sure it goes to the pan not last minute, but at the end of frying the leeks, just before adding hot stock.

Serves 2-4

4 tbsp olive oil 
2 small leeks, white and light green part, sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped 
about 250ml fresh peas, podded
about 200ml fresh broad beans, podded
about 1 l vegetable stock, hot 
2-4 slices of stale bread, cubed
chilli powder or cayenne pepper  
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180 C. Place cubed bread on a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with chilli or cayenne. Place in the oven and bake until crispy and golden. 

Heat the remaining oil in a pan, add leeks and fry until slightly browned, then add garlic and fry for one minute or so. Add hot stock, bring to the boil, low down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the peas and broad beans. If you prefer to skin broad beans then you have to blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain, peel and put the peeled broad beans to the soup just for last 3 minutes.

Before serving season with salt and pepper (that depends on your stock flavours) and serve with spicy croutons.

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