For me, a chilled pea, leek and potato soup on a summers evening always conjures up fancy dinners on the freshly mowed summer lawns of those that live in fancy houses in the English countryside. Probably but not exclusively, some time in the 1970’s. I’ve no idea why I feel this way about cold soup? I guess there’s something about it that feels a little posh but also a little retro. I know my mum used to make a stunning vichyssoise back in the 70’s and 80’s. She’ll probably tell me she still makes it occasionally but I know that she started making it back when I was a kid. She would serve it chilled in little glass bowls, with cubed pieces of cucumber sprinkled on top. Like fridge croutons, floating in a sea of beautiful pale green.
You can pretty much eat any soup cold (I strongly believe that there should be no rules in cookery,) but the ones made with sweeter vegetables work best when served cold. Tomatoes are famously made into gazpacho and it’s their sweetness that makes it work so well. Leeks and potatoes are also nicely sweet as are peas, which is why i’ve added them into this classic mix. Cucumber and avocado also make good cold soups as do roasted red peppers… but this combination is my favourite and is ridiculously easy to make.
chilled pea, leek and potato soup
There are some juicy leeks around at the moment and some divine new potatoes that almost melt when heated so now is the perfect time to make this soup. The addition of the peas makes the whole thing sweeter and fresher and the oregano lifts it away from the ordinary. I like my soup nicely thick but feel free to add a little more stock if it’s looking a little too thick for your tastes.
- olive oil and butter
- 1 medium white onion – finely chopped
- 2 medium leeks – trimmed and halved lengthways then cleaned and finally sliced
- 6 or 7 new potatoes – skin on, diced
- 3 chives – finely chopped (I’ve also added some garlic chives which The Viking planted recently
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried if you don’t have fresh)
- 150g frozen peas
- 1/2 litre vegetable stock mixed with 1/2 litre milk
- salt and pepper
This dish serves 6 in small bowls (2 ladles each) but it will stay good in the fridge for 4 days and freezes well too.
In a large pan on a medium heat, melt some butter and olive oil and throw in the onions and leeks, stir them well and let them simmer gently for about five minutes until they begin the turn soft, then add the potatoes, chives and oregano, stir well and turn the heat down to very low. Place the lid on and let the whole lot sweat for about 8 gentle minutes or until the potatoes are wonderfully soft. Season well with salt and pepper.
Add the peas and stir well then pour in the stock and milk and place the lid back on and let the dish gently plop away for about 10 – 12 minutes, then take the pan off the heat and let the whole lot cool down to room temperature
Blitz till gloriously smooth, then refrigerate for at least two hour or until properly cold… serve with diced cucumber or as i’ve done with blanched green beans
eat and of course enjoy!