Monday 16th December 2019
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Serves
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
1 medium onion – finely chopped (could use spring onions)
4 stalks of celery – finely chopped
300g peas – frozen or fresh
A large bunch of wild garlic – roughly 75g
1 ltr good quality vegetable stock
Butter, olive oil and seasoning

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Recipe by Dominic Franks

With spring now well and truly set in Dominic Franks takes us foraging for ingredients you can find throughout the county.

I think May is my favourite month. For a while I was very much either an October or December fan. I still am of course, I mean with the combination of Halloween and Christmas they both just have so much going for them and particularly as a food writer they are very colourful months but as I mature in years my respect for May and all the bounty it promises, has grown. The whole countryside just looks so glorious. The flowers in gardens are at their most shiny and new. The fields are lush with green and the lambs and calves of April have settled down into their cute discovery phase where they’re a little bit braver and approachable. As always the seasons are slightly delayed here, compared to what my foodie friends down south experience; whilst their celebration of rhubarb and wild garlic is most definitely over, ours didn’t really kick in until mid-April so there are still patches of both to be found if you know where to look.

I adore wild garlic, with its heady aroma and deep yet mild garlic flavour, and if you’re lucky enough to know where a patch grows near you then I’d keep it a secret! We have a large wood not far from the cottage that is very sheltered. So much so that the wild garlic really doesn’t come into full bloom until the end of April and lasts for a few good weeks. I always pick plenty, some for now and some that I chop up and freeze for later. I’m always mindful to ensure that I leave plenty behind but to be fair I’d need a tractor to harvest the lot! It works really well in many dishes from quiche to bread and I have a recipe for wild garlic pesto that is to die for. If you’ve never used it before, think of it as a mild garlic flavoured rocket or watercress and treat it the same. It is beautiful in this pea soup. Sweet and aromatic with a subtle kick of garlic that is quite divine.

METHOD
Place a large soup pan onto the hob on a gentle heat, add a knob of butter and a little olive oil and when the butter has melted, add the onions and celery. Stir well and let them sweat gently for about 8 min until the onions begin to turn translucent and soften.

Add the peas and the wild garlic, stir, place the lid on and let them all sweat together for another 5 min.

Add the stock and let the whole thing simmer for 15 min, then take off the heat, place the lid on and let the soup cool for another 30 min.

Blitz until smooth and serve either at this lukewarm temperature or warmer to your liking.

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