Spicy Pea & Feta Soup

I have to admit, I never really ‘got’ pea soup – I always found it a bit too bland and a bit too sweet. But I do really like peas, so recently I thought I’d have a go at reinventing it to my tastes, with a spicy kick and a bit of feta to punch up the flavours, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

Ingredients
1 large onion
1 courgette
Butter
2 fat garlic cloves
1 tsp chopped chilli
300g frozen peas
1.5 pints chicken stock
1 tbsp hot chilli sauce (optional)
A pinch of salt
A dash of lemon juice
Feta to crumble on top


Serves 4

To start, pop a generous scoop of butter into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, and leave it to melt. Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to the pan, and while that sizzles, chop the onion and the courgette and add those too. Fry for about ten minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are nicely softened. Then add the peas (no need to defrost) and the chilli, and fry for another five minutes.

Next, make up the chicken stock (I like to use chicken stock because I think it rounds out the flavours, but by all means use vegetable stock if you prefer) and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes, until the peas are really soft. Now you can take the pan off the heat and use an immersion blender until the soup is smooth, silky and a beautiful delicate shade of green.

Return the pan to the heat and season with a pinch of salt, a dash of lemon juice and a tablespoonful of hot sauce – this last bit is optional if you’re really not into spicy things, but I think it really works with the sweetness of the peas. Have a taste to check it’s all fabulously delicious (you might need to add a pinch more salt at this point) and then serve straightaway, with feta crumbled on top.