Although fresh produce is generally better than frozen, we have one exception to this rule and that is green peas (English peas). In general frozen peas are harvested when the sugar content is at its peak then quickly processed and frozen. We tried many “fresh” green peas in pods including those from roadside stands but they tend to be starchy because the sugar quickly reverts back to starch after the peas are harvested. Among the frozen green peas, my wife insists on using Hanover brand “petite peas”. In this case, I have to agree. Since French tarragon was nicely growing in our spring herb garden, I was tasked to find “Hanover” frozen “petit peas”, which, I am happy to report was completed successfully. (No they did not pay us for this endorsement…maybe they should.) My wife made this pea soup with tarragon a dish that represents spring at its finest.
Green peas: My wife used two bags (16 oz each) of frozen Hanover brand “petite” green peas. She simply put the frozen peas in a colander and ran warm tap water over them for few minutes until they were thawed. (These peas are so tender, boiling them would be a travesty.)
Onion: Finely chopped, one large
Chicken broth: low-sodium non-fat Swanson chicken broth, 48oz
French tarragon: Leaves removed and finely chopped, about 1-2 tbs
In a pan, she added olive oil and sautéed the onion until soft and semitransparent (for 5 minutes). She added the thawed green peas and added chicken broth and simmered for 10-15 minutes. Using an emersion blender (a.k.a. Motor boat), she blended the soup. We could have put this through a sieve but to make it smoother, but this time, we went for a more “rustic” soup and did not removed the “solids”.
She mixed in the French tarragon and seasoned it with a bit more salt.
This is a good soup warm or cold. We added a bit of cream and garnished it with a sprig of tarragon. The nice yellow green color was indeed the color of spring and early summer. The soup is sweet from the natural sweetness of the green peas. The tarragon adds a subtle bright note. Next day, we ate the soup cold which was also good. Depending on your preference, you could adjust the thickness by adding milk or cream.