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Seasonal recipes

Recipe for fresh pea soup with tarragon and crispy pancetta

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for the Boston Globe

Serves 6

A simple twist on the classic combination of peas and mint, this soup is also made with golden potatoes, pancetta, leek, and cream. You have to shuck fresh peas (a labor of love, but they’re only in season briefly). Some markets sell peas already shucked, and charge handsomely for it. Substitute frozen peas, if you like, cooking them for a minute less.

½pound pancetta, finely chopped
1leek, coarsely chopped
3shallots, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2medium Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4cups chicken stock
4cups shelled fresh peas (3½ pounds peas, shelled)
1cup whole tarragon leaves
1cup heavy cream
Extra cream (for garnish)
1tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves (for garnish)

1. In a soup pot, cook the pancetta for 25 minutes, stirring often, or until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.

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2. Add leek, shallots, salt, and pepper. Cover with a lid, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

4. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes or until the peas are tender but still green.

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5. Stir in tarragon leaves and cream. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

6. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with cream, chopped tarragon, and pancetta. Karoline Boehm Goodnick

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