Hearty Pea-and-Spinach Soup
Heavy cream fashioned into a doily-inspired pattern on top of this soup will float for a considerable amount of time -- long enough to allow you to create patterns on individual servings and present them at the table. Ladle some of the soup into bowls in the kitchen, and place the remaining soup in a tureen for seconds. Decorate the surfaces of both before serving.
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
- 2 pounds fresh English peas, shelled (about 2 cups)
- 1 pound spinach, tough stems discarded (about 12 cups packed leaves)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Heavy cream, for decorating
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a boil.
- Add peas, and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in spinach. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Working in batches, puree pea mixture in a blender, filling no more than halfway and adding up to 2 tablespoons water to each batch to achieve desired consistency. Stir in lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into bowls.
- Fill a pastry or resealable plastic bag with cream. Snip off tip or corner of bag. Draw parallel horizontal lines across each serving of soup, spacing lines as desired.
- Starting at bottom, drag the tip of a wooden skewer upward through the rows of cream. Starting at top and spacing as desired, drag skewer downward through rows of cream. Repeat, reversing direction every other line. Serve immediately.
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