Six O’Clock Solution: Fresh pea soup is inspired by Jane Austin

Article content

Christmas season has long been a time to hark back to favourite dishes of our past. Why not go back as far as England’s Regency and Georgian eras and cook from a little book called Dinner With Jane Austen (CICO Books/Simon and Schuster, $19.99)?

This easy soup can be made with frozen baby green peas and a few canned anchovies. Imagine yourself dining with the Bennet family of Pride and Prejudice, perhaps with Mr. Darcy at table. British food historian Pen Vogler has researched her 30 dinner recipes with the help of the Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, plus some background from 19th-century writer Isabella Beeton, 18th-century cookbook author Hannah Glasse and others.

Article content

Vogler includes a variety of menus; your roast might be partridge, venison, turkey, mutton or pork. Side dishes such as spiced mushrooms, herb pie or sweetbreads with asparagus are offered along with a variety of desserts and baking. All have tempting photographs by Stephen Conroy.

Fresh pea soup

Serves 6

4 tablespoons (50 g) butter

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

Chopped sprigs of mint and flat-leaf parsley

6 to 8 anchovy fillets, chopped

Freshly ground pepper

4 cups (500 g) frozen baby green peas

4 cups (1 L) vegetable or chicken stock

Pinch sugar

4 to 5 handfuls of fresh spinach*

*Alternates: chopped lettuce or cucumber.

Related Stories

In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat butter until sizzling and cook celery and onion until soft, but not browned.

Add mint, parsley, anchovies and a little pepper and cook a few minutes, stirring.

Stir in peas, add stock and a good pinch of sugar, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add spinach and cook a few minutes more.

Let cool, then purée in blender or press through a sieve.

Reheat gently to serve hot.

[email protected]

Share this article in your social network