Potage Saint-Germain

Any recipe with the words ‘Saint-Germain’ or ‘Clamart’ in the title means the dish contains peas, since both areas of Paris were once famous for growing them. This is a very simple soup, made principally of dried split peas, though both the flavour and the colour are improved if you include some fresh petits pois, turning a determinedly khaki presentation into something more appealingly green. The technique here is contemporary, though the recipe is generally traditional.


  • 275 g/ 10 oz green split peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 170 g/ 6 oz frozen peas
  • 225 g/ 8 oz onions, thinly sliced
  • 60 g/ 2 oz butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300 ml/ ½ pt single cream
  • croutons fried crisp in unsalted butter or shredded mint leaves, to serve


Rinse the split peas under cold running water, then put them in a pan with 1.75 litres/ 3 pints cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, add the bay leaf, season with pepper only and simmer until cooked, which will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

Blanch the frozen peas for 1 minute in rapidly boiling water. Drain and reserve. Sweat the onions in the butter until soft and translucent, adding the garlic for the last minute or so. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add the split peas with their cooking water and the blanched frozen peas. Add a little salt and blitz, pouring the cream through the feeder tube as it processes to a smooth purée.

Return to the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning. Heat through gently, being careful not to boil. Serve with croutons fried crisp in unsalted butter or with some shredded mint leaves scattered on top.