Peas in the pod are available in summer, and are best soon after picking, while they still have their natural sweetness. The high vitamin and fibre content of peas is also found in the pods, and this healthy soup makes the most of both.
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700g (1lb 9oz) peas in pods
500g (1lb 2oz or 2 pints) cooked shell-on prawns
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5-6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled and coarsely grated
2 sprigs of mint
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 large floury potato, about 250g (9oz), peeled, grated and rinsed
Salt and black pepper
Small bunch of chives, snipped
Method Prep:20min › Cook:33min › Ready in:53min
Pod the peas into a bowl. Reserve and roughly chop the pods. Peel the prawns, reserving their heads, shells and any roe.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the spring onions and cook over a gentle heat for 1-2 minutes until soft, then add the garlic, pea pods and prawn shells and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes until the prawn shells release a powerful aroma.
Add the ginger, mint, peppercorns and 1 litre (1¾ pints) water and bring to the boil. Skim, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the contents of the pan through a large sieve into a deep bowl, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the flavourings.
Return the liquid to the rinsed saucepan and add the grated potato and half the peas. Bring to the boil, then cook at a low boil for 5 minutes. Purée, using a hand-held blender. Return to the heat, add the remaining peas and simmer for 3-4 minutes until tender.
Add salt, pepper to taste and sugar, if needed, and transfer the soup to warmed soup plates or bowls. Add the shelled prawns, top with chives and serve.