Green Peas Soup, without Meat

Ingredients

  • Green peas, 1 quart
  • water, 5 pints:
  • cucumbers, 3 to 6
  • lettuces, 3 or 4
  • onions, 1 to 4
  • little parsley
  • mint (if liked), 12 to 20 leaves
  • butter, 3 to 4 oz.
  • salt, half-teaspoonful
  • seasoning of white pepper or cayenne: 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Young peas, Β½ to ΒΎ of a pint.

Method

Boil tender in three quarts of water, with the proportions of salt and soda directed for them in Chapter XVII., one quart of large, full grown peas; drain and pound them in a mortar, mix with them gradually five pints of the liquor in which they were cooked, put the whole again over the fire, and stew it gently for a quarter of an hour; then press it through a hair-sieve. In the mean time, simmer in from three to four ounces of butter,* three large, or four small cucumbers pared and sliced, the hearts of three or four lettuces shred small, from one to four onions, according to the taste, cut thin, a few small sprigs of parsley, and, when the flavour is liked, a dozen leaves or more of mint roughly chopped: keep these stirred over a gentle fire for nearly or quite an hour, and strew over them a half-teaspoonful of salt, and a good seasoning of white pepper or cayenne. When they are partially done drain them from the butter, put them into the strained stock, and let the whole boil gently until all the butter has been thrown to the surface, and been entirely cleared from it; then throw in from half to three quarters of a pint of young peas boiled as for eating, and serve the soup immediately.

When more convenient, the peas, with a portion of the liquor, may be rubbed through a sieve, instead of being crushed in a mortar; and when the colour of the soup is not so much a consideration as the flavour, they may be slowly stewed, until perfectly tender in four ounces of good butter, instead of being boiled: a few green onions, and some branches of parsley may then be added to them.

Obs.β€”We must repeat that the peas for these soups must not be old, as when they are so, their fine sweet flavour is entirely lost, and the dried ones would have almost as good an effect; nor should they be of inferior kinds. Freshly gathered marrowfats, taken at nearly or quite their full growth, will give the best quality of soup. We are credibly informed, but cannot assert it on our own authority, that it is often made for expensive tables in early spring, with the young tender plants or halms of the peas, when they are about a foot in height. They are cut off close to the ground, like small salad, we are told, then boiled and pressed through a strainer, and mixed with the stock. The flavour is affirmed to be excellent.

* Some persons prefer the vegetables slowly fried to a fine brown, then drained on a sieve, and well dried before the fire; but though more savoury so, they do not improve the colour of the soap.