Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pea and Cilantro Soup with Red Chili Cream (and Fried Tortilla Strips) for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

Pea soups can be a little bland sometimes but this Pea and Cilantro Soup from Diana Henry's Plenty adds a little something different to pea soup with the blend of cumin and cilantro and by topping it with a Red Chili Cream. I added some strips of tortilla, crisped up in oil to add some welcome crunch. 

Pea and Cilantro Soup with Red Chili Cream
Adapted from Plenty by Diana Henry 
(Serves 6-8)

For the Soup:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
large bunch of cilantro
2 lbs frozen green peas
4 cups chicken or veggie stock
lemon juice to taste

For the Cream:
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup whipping cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
pinch of superfine sugar (optional)

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy pan. Add the onion and potato and stir. Add the cumin and stir for a minute to release the aroma. Chop the cilantro stems (reserve the leaves) and add them as well, stir, add a splash of water and cover. Sweat for about 20 minutes, adding a splash of water every so often to prevent it sticking on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the peas, stock, cilantro leaves, and seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then leave to cool. When at room temperature, puree in a blender and add lemon juice to taste. 

To make the cream, heat the olive oil and saute the chilies until soft. Put into a blender and add the cream, lemon juice, and a bit of salt. Blend briefly until broken down. Add a little water to thin it out (It should be able to float on the soup but not be in thick blobs). Check the seasoning. You might think it needs the tiniest pinch of sugar. Reheat the soup before serving (or serve cold) and garnish with the cream. 

Notes/Results: The cumin and cilantro add good flavor to this creamy soup but it is the red chili cream that makes it special. Slightly sweet (I did add the pinch of sugar), slightly tangy, and with a little bit of heat, it is a nice foil to the peas. I had coconut milk creamer in the house, so I used that instead of heavy cream. If you do that and leave out the butter, you can make it vegan. I really like having the strips of deep-fried tortilla to add a crunchy texture to the soup--tortilla chips would work well too. Quick and easy to make, it would be a good starter to a Mexican-themed meal and it works either hot or cold. I would make this again.  

I am going to link this post up with Potluck Week at IHCC--a chance to make any recipe from Diana Henry or any of our previous IHCC chefs. You can see what everyone else made for Potluck by checking out the picture links on the post.

We have a couple of good friends hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week. Let's see what they brought!  

Alicia of Foodycat made Garlic Soup with Gruyere Croutons inspired by Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me With Apples and a soup she enjoyed years ago. She says, "The mention of garlic soup reminded me of the delicious, pungently wine-flavoured garlic soup we'd had in Switzerland, back in 2007 when I was but a baby blogger. I've tried a couple of different versions but I've never quite nailed the combination of fresh-tasting but cooked garlic and dry wine that I remember. This time I tried a version from one of my favourite defunct food blogs, FX Cuisine. Such a great blog but no activity since 2009. Anyway, in his version you roast the garlic with quite a lot of oil, then use that garlic and oil to make a roux before adding stock to make the soup. He also adds noodles to it. I used some dry white wine as well as the chicken stock, and used sourdough olive bread croutes (nothing says "San Francisco" to me like sourdough!) smothered with gruyere cheese to make it substantial enough to be a meal. It was completely delicious, but still nothing like the one we had in Wengen."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor and Novel Meals shares a classic Lentil Soup inspired by a review of The Soup Club Cookbook. She says, "There are many recipes in this book and not all of them are soups or stews. There are also side dishes and breads. The very cool thing about the recipes are the stories that accompany them. The back stories of these women and their families make it extra special. It started with four friends, women who didn't know each other before they moved to New York City. They became friends & eventually decided to start a soup club. ... With so many intriguing recipes I am selecting a favorite of mine - lentil soup. The quantities of ingredients have been cut back tremendously and I am a "little bit of this, little bit of that" type measurer so....I will just include the recipe in it's original format."


Joanne from Green Gourmet Giraffe is sharing these yummy-looking open-faced sandwiches and says, "I made myself Cheesey Peas on Toast for lunch. "I heated and mashed some green peas.  I mixed them with a spoonful of cream cheese and a little grated cheese.  It was very nice with a grinding of black pepper and some time under the grill.  However the peas were quite sweet so perhaps some spring onions in the mix would give the bite it needed.  A nice easy lunch that I would be happy to eat often."

Thanks to Foodycat, Tina and Joanne for joining me this this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!    


  1. Love this version of pea soup. The added potato for body, along with the warm spices, and red chili cream. It's pea soup gone fancy for sure! Extra tortilla strips for me please;-)

  2. those crispy tortillas look delicious on the soup - thanks for including my sandwich in the round up

  3. Joyce, Kitchen FlavoursMarch 29, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    Hi Deb,
    You do make the most awesome looking soups! It looks fresh and delicious, sounds really aromatic with the cumin and I like your touch of crunchy tortilla strips!

  4. As I am a soup lover this is an inspiring post for me. I see many good ideas here. Thanks for having me at Souper Sunday this week'

  5. I can think of many soups that I would want to put that cream on! What a great way to liven this up!

  6. Thanks for including my soup! I love the idea of tortilla chips on the soup - what a great garnish.

  7. I love soup, although pea soup gives me pause. This recipe is very appealing and easy to do; I might just give it a trial. Thanks!

  8. I love the idea of a spicy pea soup - it looks and sounds delicious, especially the chile cream.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)