Green Pea Soup

Recipe of about 1750 from Somerset. The flavours of the lettuces and cucumber with the peas and mint are distinctive and very good.


  • lb. (¾ k.) (after shelling) of green peas (quite large and old ones will do)
  • ½ lb. (240 g.) fine young peas
  • 3 pints ( l.) water
  • 6 or 7 sprigs of fresh mint and 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 or 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 Cos lettuces
  • 5 oz. 150 g.) butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • pepper and salt
  • oz. (45 g.) flour
  • croûtons of fried bread finely chopped mint and parsley to garnish


Put the old peas with the mint, thyme, celery and one lettuce, washed and shredded, into the boiling water with a dessertspoon of salt. Boil for 20 minutes. Pour off the soup into a large bowl and put the vegetables through a moulin into it.

Melt 3 oz. (90 g.) of butter in a frying pan, peel, seed and cut up the cucumber, and peel and slice the onion, and fry gently till almost tender but not coloured. Shred the other lettuce finely, add to the vegetables in this pan and fry another minute or two. Stir into the soup in the bowl.

In your original saucepan melt the remaining butter and stir in the flour. Stir the soup gradually on to this roux, which should just thicken and bind it. Add the uncooked green peas and simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or until they are tender.

Check seasoning and serve with mixed mint and parsley sprinkled on each bowl and crisp croûtons of fried bread.