Clear Beetroot Soup with Broad Bean Kernels and Petits Pois

A simple, pretty and delicate soup. Serve with some good crusty bread. To make it more substantial you can add thin rings of 4-5 small squid at the same moment as the petits pois — delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1.7 litres/3 pints chicken or vegetable stock (home-made if possible)
  • strained juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 medium-sized raw beetroot
  • 450 g/1 lb frozen broad beans
  • good handful fresh mint leaves
  • good handful fresh flat-leafed parsley
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 225 g/8 oz frozen petits pois
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Pour the stock and strained lemon juice into a large saucepan. Peel the beetroot, chop it up into small pieces and put it into the stock. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer gently for about half an hour. Meanwhile, put the frozen broad beans into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave them for a few minutes, then drain. Pop the beans out of their skins back into the empty bowl again and leave them on one side.

When the beetroot has been cooking for about half an hour, strain the stock through a fine sieve into another saucepan, discarding the beetroot. Check for seasoning and add salt and black pepper if needed. Chop the mint leaves quite finely and the flat-leafed parsley only very roughly.

Just before serving, add the caraway seeds to the soup and bring up to boiling. Add the petits pois and boil for about 2 minutes, then add the skinless broad beans and boil for only 1 minute more. Finally stir in the chopped mint and parsley, pour into a soup tureen or spoon into bowls, and serve at once.

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