Guest Blog: Spade Fork Spoon

The pea season is in full swing. We’ve finished eating the meteor peas which were sown last Autumn. They overwintered in the greenhouse before we planted them out in late March (Lovely pictures of the Oromo Community Group picking and eating these on our new flickr page). Now, in July the tall peas are coming into their own.

Fellow Weald Allotment gardener, foodie and blogger Simon Cobb has shared his recipe for Pea Pod Soup, so we can reduce waste and make use of those lovely flavoursome pods as well!

You can find more delicious recipes and reflections on allotment gardening on his blog Spade Fork Spoon

Here’s Simon:

Chilled Lettuce and Pea Pod Soup

We have been able to pick the first of our peas recently and enjoyed them as part of a broad bean and pea pasta dish. The process of picking and then podding peas is such a great one. It almost forces you to sit at the kitchen table and take time to pop out the sweet green orbs, occasionally failing to resist the temptation to eat a stray pea. However satisfying this is, you’re always left with a mountain of fresh pea pods which usually go into the compost. With this in mind I thought about how I could use the leftover shells. Waste not want not, as they say. This soup is really a way of using all the flavour of the peas, as well as the lettuces which are starting to go to seed in the warmer weather, and the abundance of beautifully fresh mint we have at the allotment. As a soup for summer, its chilled, but would no doubt work hot later in the year with a bit of shredded ham thrown in before serving if you’re not veggie.

You will need (makes enough for 2):
Spring onion, finely chopped
Clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 little gem lettuce, roughly chopped
Pea pods from 500g of peas (eat the peas beforehand)
1 tbsp white wine (optional)
500ml light chicken or veg stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Small bunch of mint leaves, chopped

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy based pot. Add the spring onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t colour too much. Follow with the pea pods and lettuce, season with salt, and cook for a few minutes. Use a dash of white wine if using or stock to deglaze the pan and cook for a minute before adding the hot stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the pods are quite soft. Remove from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the mint leaves, then blitz the soup in short pulses until all the pods are broken down into chunks. It won’t become a purée, you just want to break it up to make it easier to push through the mesh and release the flavours. Place a fine sieve over a bowl and ladle a few spoonfuls of the soup into it, using the back of the spoon to push the puréed pods through the fine holes of the sieve. Remove any solids from the sieve and repeat with remaining soup, until the bowl is filled with a smooth velvety liquid. Place this soup in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, before serving in small bowls with a drizzle of good olive oil on top. Alternatively this makes an excellent starter served in shot glasses or espresso cups.