- 3 tablespoons sweet butter
- 4 ounces smoked slab bacon
- 1/2 cup peeled and sliced sweet onions
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (preferably Riesling)
- One-half garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 small sprig fresh mint or tarragon
- 3 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups freshly shelled peas (or frozen)
- 2 cups baby spinach
In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the onions. Sweat gently until the onions are soft. Add the white wine and the minced garlic, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook until the wine is nearly completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, the water and the tarragon or mint. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the shelled peas and cook them until tender yet still nice and green, about 3 minutes. In the meantime, prepare an ice bath large enough to hold a stainless steel mixing bowl.
When the peas are cooked, strain most of the liquid off. Pour the peas into the bowl in the ice bath. This will stop the cooking immediately, and the peas will retain their beautiful green color. (The peas do not have to be chilled completely.)
Transfer the peas to a blender, add the spinach and some of the cooking liquid and blend well. Pour the puree in a saucepan and adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more cooking liquid. Reheat gently, simmering for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat. Check the thickness and the seasoning again and adjust as necessary. Garnish with the bacon and pea shoots or flowering herbs.
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