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17th Century English Soup

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Why I Love This Recipe

Ingredients You'll Need

1 pound green peas (fresh or frozen)
4 cups water
1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white part only)
4 slices of bacon, chopped fine (it is easy to chop if the bacon is partially frozen)
sprigs of parsley, chervil, and any other sweet herbs
4 cups meat broth
4 Tablespoons butter (half the original--17th century English cookery used a shocking amount of butter)
1/2 cup spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup sorrell, finely chopped (if you can find it)
1/4 cup mixture of leaf lettuce, chervil, and water cress, finely chopped
1/4 cup heart of savoy cabbage, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, with leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint, minced (or 1/4 dried mint, rubbed between your palms to a powder)
1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped
2 cups strong meat broth (the orginal recipes recommends gravy, a favorite soup enhancement)
Salt, pepper, pinch of mace, and pinch of ground cloves
Garnish: toasted bread slices; optionally you can add meatballs "or any other thing as pallattes and sweetbreads or Combs"


In a large saucepan, bring the peas and 4 cups water to a boil and cook over medium heat until the peas are thick. Add the leek, bacon, and sweet herbs, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. (You can toast your bread slices at this point, to serve with the soup.) Puree the soup in a blender. Add the broth, puree again, and reserve.

In the saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat, then stir in all the greens. Cover and let the greens sweat in the butter for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the strong broth and mix well. Stir in the pureed peas. Season with salt, pepper, mace, and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

To serve, place a toast piece and any other garnish in each soup bowl and ladle the soup over.

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