This is my take on the traditional chilled potato soup. The peas add a layer of flavor that is delicate and subtle. Plus the color is incredibly beautiful. What a perfect soup for a very warm summer night.
I don’t usually like pureed soups but this one is an exception for me. The flavors blend together really well but you still will be able to taste each layer of flavor individually.
Makes 1 Gallon, About Enough for 10 Good Size Portions
6 Ounces Unsalted Butter
4 Cups Coarsely Chopped Leeks, White Parts Only, Thoroughly Cleaned
3 Celery Stalks, Peeled and Coarsely Chopped
1 Large White Onion, Peeled and Cut into Medium Dice
6 Cups Cubed Russet Potatoes, Peeled and Cut Into 1 Inch Cubes
8 Cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Canned Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Cups Half and Half
1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 16-Ounce Bags Frozen Peas, Thawed and at Room Temperature
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Crème Fraiche and Micro Pea Sprouts (Optional) for Garnish
Melt butter in a heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add leeks, celery and onion. Reduce heat and cover. Sweat the vegetables until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables get brown. You want the soup to have a light color and browning will only darken the end result. Add the potatoes, half and half, the salt and pepper and the stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer lightly until the potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes. Add the peas and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and using a blender, puree in small batches until smooth. Put into a large container and cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.
When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with Crème Fraiche and pea sprouts.
Hints and Tips – As soon as you put the peas in the soup don’t hesitate to take it off the heat immediately. If the peas cook at all they will turn a “Canned Pea Gray”. You need the vibrancy of the spring pea green to give the soup its special color.
When ladling the hot soup into the blender be very careful. Do this in small batches and be sure you put the lid on before turning on the blender.
The 2 cups of cream called for at the end of the recipe can be optional if you like.