I can’t prove this, but I think almost everyone likes peas. They are an ancient, adaptable, and nutritious vegetable. Maybe this is why the reclusive American author J. D. Salinger ate peas for breakfast. Though you may not wish to follow his example, you may add peas to stews, pasta, soups, vegetable stir-fry, and fish dishes.
Christine Fadhley discusses this versatile vegetable in her Health Cooking website article, “Frozen Peas are Good for You!” According to Fadhey, peas are a source of Vitamins A and C, Folic Acid, are rich in Zinc, high in fiber, and low in saturated fat. Peas are easy on the waistline and a half cup contains only 55 calories.
Many professional chefs and home cooks prefer frozen peas over fresh. Why? Fadhley thinks it is due to processing. Fresh peas are washed and blanched in near-boiling water immediately after they are picked. “Then each pea is blasted through a funnel of freezing air so that each one is individually frozen,” she explains. From washing to freezing takes a mere 14 minutes.
The Cook’s magazine website recommends frozen peas for their convenience and flavor. “Test after test, we found frozen peas to be tender and sweet while fresh peas tasted starchy and bland.” This is because fresh peas lose “a substantial portion of their nutrients” 24 hours after they are picked, the website notes.
When I was growing up my mother made pea soup with dried peas and a ham hock or leftover ham. The soup was an inexpensive, delicious and nutritious. I have made soup with dried split peas and you may have, too. Today, many home cooks are switching to fresh pea soup made with frozen peas. In 20 minutes you can have a creamy, delicious soup and here is my recipe. It is not as thick as dried pea soup, but it is just as delicious. You may add diced ham to the soup for extra flavor.
2 tablespoons butter (no substitutions)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups frozen petite peas
32-ounce carton lower salt chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 cup fat free half and half
2-3 tablespoons light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt free lemon and pepper
Salt to taste (I omit it.)
Melt butter in large saucepan. Cook onions in butter until translucent. Add chicken stock and peas. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until peas are tender. Add half and half and cream cheese. Puree mixture with an immersion or regular blender. Put Wondra flour in a cup and thin with a little cold water. Add to soup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until soup thickens. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of fat free sour cream, if desired. Serve with crusty bread and a salad. Makes 6 main course servings or 8 appetizer servings.
Copyright 2010 by Harriet
Article Source by Harriet Hodgson