There’s something about the arrival of spring that whets my appetite for green peas. Although they aren’t the lowest carb of green vegetable choices, they are enough of a bargain at 8.4 grams to enjoy a half-cup as a side dish with ham or lamb for Easter brunch–especially when you can get them fresh.
I confess that I love the tender, delicate flavor of fresh early spring peas almost any way you serve them. My main problem is that it’s very easy, loving them as I do, for the half-cup to grow into a portion not quite as carb friendly. That’s not to say that it would be so terrible to blow your carb budget on all the early spring peas you can stuff in, but why tempt fate? Since in my case, relying solely on self-discipline in the face of a serving bowl filled with tender spring peas, touched ever so lightly with butter, salt, and pepper, might prove problematic.
A better option might be to approach portion control a slightly different way: turn the peas into a delicious soup, instead. That way, you can stretch 10 ounces of peas to feed 6 people (not even 2 ounces per person) by combining them with carb-friendly broth and cream. Not to mention that soup is filling, which is why it’s a good way to start a meal.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes for green pea soup. It’s extra delicious made with fresh green peas, but works almost as well with frozen; that way, you can serve it any time of the year.
So, no matter where you live–even if the crocuses and daffodils haven’t quite yet broken through and a harvest of early peas are farther off still, you can add a little bit of spring green to your table this weekend! Enjoy.
Creamy Green Pea Soup
10 ounces fresh green peas (or one 10-ounce package frozen peas)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (divided use)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (divided for use)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons ThickenThin not/Starch
1 cup half-and-half (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon chopped chives
4 tablespoons crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1. Thaw the frozen peas and reserve 1/8 cup for garnish.
2. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until it foams. Add the shallot and sauté until translucent. Add the peas (except the reserved 1/8 cup), season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for a minute or two.
3. Transfer the sautéed peas and shallot to a blender or food processor. Add the vegetable broth, ThickenThin, and remaining salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. (At this point, the soup can be held, covered and refrigerated, for up to a day before proceeding.)
4. Return soup to the saucepan, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer. Just before serving, stir in the half-and-half and let it come up to temperature. At the last moment before serving stir in the chives.
5. Ladel the soup into bowls; place a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream into the center of each bowl and garnish the cream with a few of the reserved fresh peas.
Protein per serving: 5.4 grams
Effective carb per serving: 8.7 grams