"Most pea soups are flavoured with some kind of added pork whether it be a gammon hock, salt pork or pancetta. The very fact that this centuries old classic combination is still going strong is a testament to its comforting, homely qualities, as well as its consummate deliciousness.
"For vegetarians who normally have to pass on the pea and ham variety, this version is meat free, with a little added sweet smoked paprika to give a hint of the flavour that would normally be provided by the bacon, without overpowering the natural flavour of the peas themselves.
"With the addition of earthy, dried mushrooms it is something a little different to standard pea soup recipes but do give it a try, it makes a wonderful hearty, filling meal, accompanied by nothing more than a chunk of crusty bread.
With a nod to the famous Ärtsoppa, the yellow pea soup traditionally served in Swedish homes on a Thursday evening, I highly recommend serving it with wholegrain mustard which gives it an uplifting extra burst of flavour."
- Lindsey Dickson, Chef, The Eating Tree.
For 4 Person(s)
Put the peas in a large pan with the stock, cold water, leeks, paprika and herbs.
Bring to the boil, cover, leaving a small gap, and simmer gently for 90 minutes.
After the peas have been cooking for one hour, pour 500 ml boiling water into a measuring jug and add the mushrooms. Leave to soak 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, strain the water from the mushrooms into the peas. (Use a sieve to catch any gritty sediment from the mushrooms.)
If the mushrooms are large chop them into smaller pieces. Reserve.
Take the saucepan with the peas off the heat, remove the herbs and purée the peas in a processor or with an immersion blender.
Return the puréed peas to the saucepan, leave on a low heat and season well with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick add a little more stock or water.
In a small frying pan, heat the oil and butter and gently fry the garlic and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, add the chopped spinach and cook until just wilted.
Add to the soup mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes.
To serve, ladle into serving bowls. add a swirl of double cream and some chopped parsley.
Leave guests to add wholegrain mustard as they wish.