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Peapod Soup

Apr 19, 2010

Aren't green peas simply lovable? With that color, perfect round shape, tiny size, sweetness and the way they pop open in your mouth... They are just another beauty that comes along with spring. I can eat them all year long, in any way they come, frozen and canned, but when they are fresh, they are priceless. They appear this time of the year fresh and bright, but very soon they are back in the frozen foods cabinet in supermarkets. The snow peas season is even shorter; they come and go like sunshine on a winter day. I almost always miss them, but not this year. Just to make sure I buy them fresh and plenty, I headed down to the marketplace as soon as I heard their arrival. But apart from bleaching and using in an Asian salad dish with sesame seeds, sesame oil and soya sauce, I didn't really know what to do with them.Peas2
And that's until I ran into Julia Child's pea-pod soup recipe. I particularly love the green pea soup out of all soups for its unusual color and sweet taste, and I always cooked it in a certain way, using béchamel sauce as the soup base and added sieved, smashed peas to it. I found her version intriguing because quiet unusually, she uses pea pods, which are always doomed to go to trash regardless of how fresh they are. Her version demands much more work and ingredients than mine, but is worth it. With her recipe, she reminds us that making soup is not just a quick fix, but rather, a whole work on its own, requiring just as much attention and delicacy as a main dish.

Peapod Soup

Recipe: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child & Simone Beck


  • 1 leek and 1 onion (or just 2 onions)
  • 60 gr (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 cup (150 g) of green peas (and their crispiest pods)*
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 large potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large spring onion
  • 6-8 large lettuce leaves
  • salt and sugar to taste


  1. Cook the chopped leeks (or/and onions) slowly in 3 tbsp butter for 8-10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Set aside.
  2. Wash pods and chop roughly into 1 inch (2,5 cm) pieces. Stir the chopped pods into leeks or/and onions, cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes.
  3. Blend the flour into pea pods and continue cooking and stirring for a minute. Remove from heat, gradually blend in 1 cup of hot water. Than add sliced potato and 1+1/2 teaspoon of salt with 2 cups of more hot water. Simmer partially covered, until vegetables are tender, for about 20 minutes. This is your soup base.
  4. Boil the fresh peas in a covered sauce pan, with 1+ 1/2 cup of water, sliced spring onion, lettuce, 1 tbsp butter and a pinch of salt. Cook until peas are tender, for about 10-15 minutes, add 2-3 tbsp water if needed.
  5. Purée** the peas and the soup base separately. Sieve the soup base to remove pod fibers. Combine in a saucepan and bring to simmer, add pinches of sugar to bring out the flavor and add milk if too thick.

*If you can find them, use snow peas instead of pea pods.

**When using an electric blender to purée the ingredients, she recommends doing that by turning the machine on and off, to sustain texture and prevent the soup from becoming a baby food. A good advice for me to take, given my vegetable soups usually looked like one. 

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