Saturday, April 11, 2009

the princess and the pea. soup.

pea soup w/ sour cream and pancetta

so i've been the doing the healthy living thing. and i plan to keep it up after easter (with a few cheat days here and there - natch). and by healthy living i've been - buying less, cleaning like a crazy woman, trying to work out more, eating more nutritiously, and generally, just living simply.

to an extent, most of these things i've been doing already. however, the biggest change has been the healthy eating coupled with cutting down on spending -- which is a challenge since healthier (and organic) food is definitely more expensive. i've not just cut out bad food (high fructose corn syrup - begone!) i've also tried to eat more nutritious foods including eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. fruit and veggies have always been part of my diet, but probably not in the recommended quantities. so squeezing another few servings of vegetables and fruit in my usual routine has been an exercise of creativity.

for lunch this week, i've had sandwiches of smoked turkey on whole grain bread with lettuce. and since it's been so unseasonably cold, i've been craving soup. the other day, i opted for a pre-made creamy tomato (which i ended up ditching after i realized it had 24 grams of sugar in it. tomato soup + h.f.c.syrup = gag). so, i decided for the next day, i'd make a healthy, cheap soup. somehow.

i realized that i had frozen peas leftover from a foray into indo-pakastani cuisine the other day. pea soup is nutritious, simple to make, and not going to put me into the red after buying a whole produce section just for simmering. as an added bonus, it can be made in smaller batches (someone really needs to create a singles recipe and food line- but that’s another post).

in the past, you couldn’t pay me to eat pea soup. so i was naturally hesitant that i might waste my time and money on this. as a compromise, i decided that if i'm going to eat the equivalent of what is essentially one cup of peas as part of a meal, that i would nudge the taste with some sprinklings of pancetta and a dollop of fat free sour cream. ends up just the tiniest add-on makes a world of difference to the taste. and since they were added in such small quantities, it’s a pretty insignificant add-on to the calorie intake (and cost).

so here's my take on pea soup (i didn't follow a formal recipe per se, so this is my best guess after skimming some recipes on the internet)

  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into thin half rings
  • 2 -2.5ish cups of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ inchish slice of pancetta, cut into a mini dice(optional)
  • 1 dollop of fat free sour cream (optional)

1) heat up just a little extra virgin olive oil (1 teaspoonish, the pancetta will add the rest) in soup pot.

2) sautee pancetta until golden and crispy. scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3) sautee onions until clear.

4) add chicken broth. bring to a rolling simmer.

5) add peas. heat through until the peas are defrosted and it comes to a rolling boil. turn off the heat! stop while you’re ahead, you want a pretty lime green pea soup, not a dull puke green color.

6) carefully use an immersion blender to blend into a puree. (or dump in batches into a regular blender. don’t forget to open the blow hole for the steam to escape or else you will burn yourself and make a mess in the kitchen!)

7) plate into a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of pancetta (just a pinch).

8) enjoy!

this tasted awesome and is surprisingly filling!

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