© David Loftus
pea & mint soup with crispy bacon
SERVES 8 | PREP 10 MINUTES | COOK 30 MINUTES
Put a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and most of the bacon. Fry for around 4 minutes, or until nice and crispy, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and all the chopped veg to the pan. Stir well, then cover with a lid and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the veg have softened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan. Gather half the mint stalks into a bunch and tie together with string, then add to the boiling stock. Pour the stock over the veg, add the peas and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove the mint stalks and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a small frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash of oil. Fry the remaining bacon for a couple of minutes, or until crispy and golden, then tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and put aside.
Stir most of the mint leaves (reserving a few baby ones) into the soup. Pour into the blender (you’ll have to do this in batches), pop the lid on and blitz on setting 2 (maximum) until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, season to taste, and keep on a low heat until ready to serve.
Ladle the soup into bowls, swirl a spoonful of crème fraîche into each one then sprinkle over the crispy bacon and remaining mint leaves. Serve with toast or warm crusty bread, if you like.
6 rashers of quality smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
• 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1.8 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock
• 1/2 a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and stalks reserved
• 800g frozen peas
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 50g crème fraîche