Sunday, March 6, 2016

An old favourite: Nigella's pea and roast garlic soup

I had a delightful lunch at my friend Ali's place a couple of weeks ago. She's a brilliant cook, so I always look forward to her food.  This time she made one of my all-time lunch favourites: Nigella Lawson's pea and roast garlic soup. I think Ali herself passed the recipe on to me years ago, but it's a little while since I made it, so I greeted its appearance with a big grin - especially as it came with Ali's legendary home-made foccaccia.  AND she grows her own garlic.
    The soup itself isn't at all ahrd to make, but it does need a bit of forethought, because you roast a whole head of garlic first, and that takes 45-60 minutes. It's also a good idea to plan ahead because you don't usually want to heat up the whole oven just for one head of garlic - so it pays to put it in while you're cooking something else.

Pea and roast garlic soup
Nigella Lawson

one whole head of garlic
2 tsps olive oil
200g frozen peas
25g butter
2 tbsps freshly grated parmesan (and more to serve)
200ml warm stock
150ml double cream (max - you may well want to use less)

To roast the garlic:
Preheat the oven to 200C. 
Slice off the top of the garlic so that you can see the tops of the cloves revealed in a cross section.
Cut out a square of foil large enough to make a parcel with room to spare around the garlic. Put the garlic in the middle and cover it with olive oil.
Make a loose parcel around the garlic, twisting the edges of the foil together at the top.
Bake at 200C for 45-60 mins until soft.

To make the soup:
Cook the peas in boiling salted water until tender but not mushy.
Drain and blend until smooth.
Squeeze in the soft cooked cloves of garlic.
Add the butter, parmesan and half of the stock. Process to a creamy puree.
Pour into a saucepan and add the remaining stock. Add cream (or extra stock - if it's not too salty - or some of both) to get a soupy consistency.
Heat gently and check seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with good bread and extra parmesan on the side.

This is a lovely fresh-tasting and yet rich soup. We followed it with cheese (including my contribution, a home-made herb boursin) and Nigel Slater's fresh plum cake - with more cream, of course.


Deborah said...

This sounds divine. I've printed it out, for use when soup season really gets going again at our house.

Alexandra Balm said...

It's always soup season for me. We grew up with soups every day: vegetable and chicken , and bone soups, spinach/stinging nettle soup. I don't cooks soups every day now,but still make them often. And I always have soups when I travel: a light dish, usually served with lovely bread/foccacia, that washes away the tiredness of the journey and re-energises for what's to come. In Hungary I learned to like even the fruit soups: sour cherry or red currant, served chilled with whipped cream on top. I'd shock the waiters in the little central city restaurant by having it last. As desert.

Unknown said...

My fav soup of all time!

Unknown said...

I love this soup and whenever l make it for others they demand the recipie...and folk usually make it themselves and give me feedback very quickly! The amounts here only serve 2 in our house!