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Regional Recipe of the Quarter: Green Pea Soup with Mint (South Africa)



  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green peas in their pods, or substitute 4 cups fresh or frozen snow peas and 2 cups defrosted frozen green peas
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 whole fresh mint sprigs, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely cut fresh mint


  1. Wash the fresh green peas under cold running water, shell them, and reserve 4 cups of the pods as well as all the peas. If you are using fresh snow peas, wash them well. Frozen snow peas and frozen green peas need only be defrosted thoroughly and drained.

  2. In a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and pods, the onion, mint sprigs and sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the peas are tender but still intact. Fresh peas and pods may take 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. Transfer the entire contents of the saucepan into a food mill or fine sieve set over a deep bowl. Put the vegetables through the food mill or, with the back of a large spoon, rub them vigorously through the sieve. Scrape any remaining pulp into the jar of an electric blender, moisten with about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and blend at high speed for 5 seconds. Pour the contents of the blender jar back into the food mill or sieve and rub as much of the pulp as possible into the pea mixture.

  4. Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan. When the foam begins to subside, stir in the flour and mix together well. Stirring constantly with a whisk or large spoon, add the pea puree and milk. Stir over moderate heat until the soup has thickened slightly, but do not let it come to a boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Serve the soup at once from a heated tureen or in individual soup plates. Before serving, garnish with the finely cut mint.

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