Pea Velouté with Mint and Crispy Speck

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In the Netherlands, pea soup is a hearty winter soup made from dried peas and ham hock. Silva Rigobello reminded me that you can also make a lighter pea soup from fresh peas, perfect for spring. In this case, I paired the peas with fresh mint from my garden and with crispy ‘Speck’. Speck is the word from Tirol for cured and smoked ham. You could also use Schwarwalder Schinken or any other type of smoked cured ham. Such a smooth soup is called velouté because it is as smooth as velvet. The smooth sweet earthy pea soup works very well with the crispy salty smoky speck and the fresh mint. It is pretty easy to make and only takes about half an hour altogether. The recipe includes a simple way to make crispy speck or prosciutto. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For 2 servings as a small main course or lunch or 4 servings as an appetizer

300 grams (2 cups) peas (fresh or frozen)

500 ml (2 cups) pork stock or vegetable stock

60 grams (2 oz) Speck, or other cured and smoked ham

1 small leek, white part only, halved and sliced

80 ml (1/3 cup) cream

10 grams (a handful) of mint leaves, plus more for garnish

salt, sugar, and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Preparation

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Separate the fat layer from the speck.

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In a saucepan, render the fat from the strips of fat over medium heat.

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This only takes a couple of minutes.

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Add the leek…

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…and a bit of water.

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Cover and cook over medium heat until the leeks are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, arrange the speck on a paper towel.

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Cover with another paper towel, and cook in the microwave on full power for 1 minute.

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If not all the fat has rendered yet, replace the bottom sheet of paper, and nuke for another 30 seconds to 1 minute…

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…until the fat has rendered from the speck and it is crispy. The only drawback to this simple method of crisping up the speck is that you can’t harvest the fat.

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When the leeks are tender…

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…add the peas and the stock.

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Bring to a boil, then cover and boil for 5 minutes.

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Roughly chop the mint leaves and add them.

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Next, add the cream.

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Blend with an immersion blender or in a high power blender until smooth.

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Reheat without allowing the véloute to come to a boil.

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Garnish the velouté with the crispy speck and additional mint, and serve at once. I kept the slices of speck whole as it would be prettier for the photo, but it is easier to eat when you break it up into small pieces.

Flashback

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Torta Mimosa is made of sponge cake and pastry cream only, but the effect is quite stunning and it tastes great as well. It looks like mimosa blossoms, hence the name.

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18 thoughts on “Pea Velouté with Mint and Crispy Speck

  1. Huh? You have a garden !!! With your uber-busy lifestyle!!! Time honoured soup, both ways Having live in the Black Forest region, guess which one I like . . .but!!! With winter making me have two heaters on already, I guess the dried peas one wins!!! With whatever speck substitution I can find . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That pea soup sounds delicious. I’m picturing it cradling a few ricotta gnocchi, topped with fried basil leaves–or mint? Can you fry mint leaves? I’m not cooking much these days but a girl can dream… 🙂 Hope you are well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to ‘see’ you, and sorry to hear you’re not cooking much. I’ve never tried frying mint leaves, but basil and mint are related so that should work. With basil it might also be nice to enrich those ricotta gnocchi with smoked eggplant 🙂

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  3. Soup looks great, Stefan! I love a combination of salty cured fried meats with any of the pea soups ( fresh as you showed or a split pea, for instance) – one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. French Canadians (as well as Americans) make pea soup, usually prepared with ham bone. I was brought up with pea soup made with dried green peas BUT all the people I knew when we had our farm in Quebec used dried yellow peas – and I actually like that version much better. I esp, like the idea of using fresh or frozen green peas – and I really like the addition of a smoked meat. I’d use bacon! I LOVE THIS RECIPE MY FRIEND !! ; o )

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  5. Pingback: Sea Bass Ceviche with Avocado | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

  6. Just saw this recipe thanks to your flashback from the ceviche with avocado, and i’m delighted i read it because as much as i love pea soup, it had never occurred to me to make it with fresh peas. Great idea. Oh, and i have to say that you’re the first Hollander i ever heard use the American idiom “nuke” to describe cooking something in the microwave. Just don’t say it to Oma:-)

    Liked by 1 person

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