This Month's Recipe...
May – Pea Soup with Lettuce and Herbs
From page 302 of The New English Table.
This is the soup, or pottage, I imagine being eaten in medieval Britain. Peas grew with ease then, feeding people and pigs. Herbs and edible leaves were randomly used and a little cream at the end of cooking would make the broth feel nice in the mouth. I use fresh British peas when available, or frozen ones.
3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed with a little salt
1.2 litres water, or any stock
450g podded green peas, defrosted if frozen
4 teaspoons salted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Any or all of the following:
a few celery leaves
hearts of romaine or Cos lettuce, roughly chopped
a few lovage leaves
4 sprigs of chervil, chopped
red mustard leaves
young spinach leaves
sorrel leaves (be aware that sorrel turns dark when cooked)
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a low heat until they soften. Cover with the water or stock, bring to the boil, then add the peas with the leaves of your choice and bring back to the boil. Allow to simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and put a knob of butter on the surface of each to melt.