This super-smooth soup makes for a simple punchy lunch or a sofa cuppa soup – the mix of salty and sweet does it. If you’re not a bacon fan, make croutons!
- Peel and finely dice the shallots on a board using a chef ’s, paring or filleting knife.
- De-seed and finely dice the chilli. Crush the garlic.
- Put a large saucepan on to heat. Add the butter. Once it foams, add the shallot, garlic, chilli and a tiny pinch of salt. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Pop the lid onto the pan and let the mix sweat very gently without colouring until it softens up. It’ll take at least 5 minutes. Don’t rush – if you burn the mix it’ll get bitter and you’ll need to start again.
- In the meantime, pour the stock into another pan and put it on the hob to heat. Once the shallots have sweated down, add the hot stock and stir well.
- Add the peas and sugar and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring the mix to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5–6 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the mint.
- Now either tip the soup carefully into a food processor and whiz until really smooth, or blitz everything together in the pan using a stick blender. If it’s not absolutely smooth, put the soup through a fine sieve (texture matters with this one).
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.
- If you want bacon with your soup, set the grill to high.
- Lay the streaky rashers on the rack and cook for 2–3 minutes per side, till crispy. Rest on kitchen paper.
- Pour the soup into a warm bowl or mug.
- Crumble the bacon on top if using, swirl over a bit of cream or yoghurt if you like, or leave plain.
- Enjoy with bread and butter.
From Sam Stern’s Cookery Course for Students in the Kitchen (Quadrille)
Photograph by Chris Terry