Makes 5 cups - 4 to 6 servings
When we think of "pea soup," we usually think of a slow-cooked soup made with dried split peas and flavored with ham. This version, made with frozen fresh peas, is smoother in texture and fresher in flavor; and it's much quicker to prepare.
For the Parmesan Cream½ cup sour cream 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (see Tip) ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste
For the soup2 tablespoons canola oil 2 celery stalks, finely chopped ½ cup finely chopped onion 1 leek (white part only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, and cut into 1/8-inch slices 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 ½ cups vegetable stock One 16-ounce bag frozen baby peas 2 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch slices 1 ½ cups milk 2 teaspoons sugar Dash of nutmeg, preferably freshly grated, or to taste Salt and ground white pepper to taste
To make the Parmesan Cream, stir together all the cream ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning; set aside.
To make the soup, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, leek, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the vegetable stock and peas. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam the carrots in a covered steamer over boiling water until tender. Or, put the carrots in a small microwave-proof dish and add about 2 tablespoons water. Cover tightly and microwave on high for about 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
In several batches, purée the pea-stock mixture and the milk to a blender until smooth.
Pour the soup into the pan. Stir in the carrots, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Stir gently over medium heat until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Top each serving with a dollop of Parmesan Cream.