artichoke and pea soup

Nigel Slater

When the wind is buffeting the house, as it is tonight, I want soup. Broth, chowder, creamy bisque or soup-stew. Something to eat from the sort of deep bowl I can cradle in my hands. We have little or nothing in the house artichoke and pea soup

serves 4

500g jerusalem artichokes lemon
1 litre chicken stock
400g frozen peas
1Sg tarragon
20g parsley

to finish (optional)
3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
4 tbsp cranberries
12 chestnuts, vacuum-packed or from ajar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Peel the artichokes and place them in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice to keep them from browning. Warm the stock in a large saucepan, add the drained artichokes and bring the stock to the boil. Lower the heat and let them cook for about 25 minutes, or until very soft.
Cook the peas from frozen in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, then drain and tip them into a bowl of iced water to stop them cooking and to keep their bright colour.

When the artichokes are soft enough to crush, process them and their cooking liquid in a blender, together with the herbs, some salt and black pepper and the drained peas. Do this in batches so as not to overflow the blender jug, or use a stick blender in the saucepan. Keep the soup warm.

Melt the jelly with 3 tbsp water in a small pan, then add the cranberries and let them soften and burst. Fry the chestnuts in the butter and oil until they are sweet and fragrant.

Pour the soup into bowls, then spoon the cranberries, jelly and warm chestnuts over the top.