Sunday, January 30, 2011

Heston's Pea and Ham Soup

On Friday, I made pea and ham soup using Heston Blumenthal's recipe for Waitrose, more or less.

Here's a summary.

Prepare some mint oil by blanching mint, then liquidising it with "grapeseed or groundnut oil".

Fry shallots, garlic and bacon in a little butter. Add vegetable stock and simmer. Add the defrosted peas and some more butter and immediately liquidise. Sieve, then add more peas and some pulled ham hock.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of the mint oil.

There are features about the recipe I don't understand. First, why does he defrost the frozen peas "completely" before using them? I didn't. Did that ruin the dish? Then, why blanch the mint? I thought this might be for health reasons - to kill any bacteria before the mint is put in the anerobic environment of the oil - but it just seemed to blanch out the mint flavour. You'd be worried about those bacteria if you were going to keep the oil for long, but not, like here, when you're going to use it straightaway.

Anyway, it was very tasty and generally faffless. The weak point was the mint oil, which really didn't add anything. Someone on the Waitrose site has suggested using minted yogurt instead, and that sounds like an improvement to me.

I haven't got a photo. The colour wasn't as vibrant as in the Waitrose photo, probably because of the stock I use. Home made, using quite a bit of onion skin, it's obviously too dark for this purpose.

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