This soup, made with soy milk and frozen fresh peas, is quicker to prepare and fresher tasting than traditional pea soup made with dried split peas and seasoned with ham. The vegetable stock can be made from stock powders, cubes, or concentrates available in most supermarkets, or you can use canned chicken broth. Rather than being made creamy with cream and butter, the soup is thickened by puréeing the peas.
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
½ c. chopped onion
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 ½ c. vegetable stock or canned chicken broth
One 16-ounce bag frozen baby peas
4 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 ½ c. plain soy milk
Dash of white pepper, or to taste
Dash of nutmeg (preferably fresh-ground) or to taste.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and small sprigs of flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic during the last minute.
Stir in the vegetable stock and peas. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the carrots into a small microwave-proof dish; add about 2 tablespoons water. Cover and microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes; drain well. (Or cook the carrots in a stovetop steamer.)
Transfer the pea-stock mixture to a blender or food processor; add ½ cup of the soy milk and process until smooth.
Pour the puréed mixture into the pan; stir in the remaining 1 cup of soy milk, the cooked carrots, white pepper, and nutmeg. Stir gently over medium heat until the mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
This soup will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Since it thickens while standing, stir in soy milk or vegetable stock as needed when reheating.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.