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Spring Pea Soup with Morel Cream

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce dried morel mushrooms
  • ½ cup very hot water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 5 cups fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped mint, plus 8 small leaves for garnish

Preparation

In a small bowl cover dried morels with hot water until rehydrated, about 15 minutes. Remove morels from soaking liquid and rinse under fresh water to remove any grit. Set aside 8 small morels for garnish and coarsely chop the rest. Reserve the morel soaking liquid.

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped morels and half of the shallots, and cook over medium-high heat until the shallots are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the chicken stock and the reserved morel soaking liquid, stopping when you reach the grit at the bottom of the bowl. Boil until liquid reduces by half. Add the cream and simmer over moderately low heat until thickened. Season the morel cream with salt and cayenne and remove from heat.

Transfer morel cream to a blender and purée until smooth. Return the morel cream to the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the remaining shallots, cooking until softened, about three minutes. Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Add all but ¼ cup of the peas and 1 tablespoon of chopped mint and simmer over medium heat until the peas are tender, about 4 minutes.

Working in batches, purée the pea soup in a blender and pass it through a coarse sieve set over a heatproof bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon or a plastic spatula. Return soup to the saucepan, reheat over medium-low heat and season to taste with salt and cayenne.

Pre-heat a small skillet at medium-high heat. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add the reserved whole morels and peas, cooking until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt.

Ladle the pea soup into 4 shallow bowls. Swirl two 2 tablespoons of warm morel cream into each bowl and garnish with whole morels, peas and mint leaf.