Soup No. 11: Oh Christmas pea, Oh Christmas pea

Dec.27.09 § 1 Comment

Okay, there’s nothing particularly Christmasy about this soup, except that it’s green. It’s a Parmesan Pea soup made with green peas and parmesan rind and just a touch of dried mint. The recipe is a bit summery, especially if you kick up the mint and use fresh picked and if you serve the soup chilled. But if you serve it warm with some crusty bread it tastes like all of the flavors in one of my favorite childhood dishes, Pasta Piselli. That is a separate soup, though. If you’re Italian like me, and your family eats a lasagna for Christmas dinner every year, this soup makes a great light appetizer.
Parmesan rind is just the end of the cheese wedge, what’s left over after you’ve grated as much of it as you can. It’s a bit hard to grate and too hard to dice and serve, but if you save it you can put it in your stock and simmer it to make a delicious base for soups. I’ve heard you can purchase them at Italian markets and cheese shops. I have neither in this small town, so I just saved my own in the fridge. You may want to freeze them if you’ll be saving them longer than a couple days.
This is a simple recipe. It, like all my recipes, also has beans in it — secret beans. I added one cup lima beans for extra fiber and the benefits of cruciferous vegetables. For all you Lima bean haters, you can’t even tell they’re in there. They’re masked by the sweet green peas and the Parmesan cheese. Here’s the recipe. Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays!

Parmesan Pea Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed dried mint
1 box (about four cups) vegetable broth
1 parmesan rind, about three inches long and one inch thick
4 cups frozen green peas
1 cup frozen Lima beans
extra parmesan for serving

Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and mint. Stir and add the vegetable broth and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the peas and lima beans. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes until peas and beans are heated through. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool completely. Puree in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat. Serve with extra parmesan, crusty  bread or croutons. Mangi!


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