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A quick to prepare, low-fat and delicious soup adapted from a recipe in the July 2008 issue of the 'Australian Table' magazine. Not as green as its recipe sibling - Minestra Di Piselli (Green Pea Soup) - this is basically a pea-ified version (if I can be allowed to coin that word) of a classic potato and leek soup, which is what drew me to the recipe. Potato and leek soups have always been a favourite of mine, one of those really safe, classic, always delicious combinations, and always SO much better if a home-made stock is used. The original version of this recipe specified 5 minutes preparation time. Such times are clearly determined on the assumption that all the ingredients are magically ready to go. My guess is that it would take me 5 minutes just to wash and chop the leeks, so I've increased the preparation time to 10 minutes. That still makes this a quick to prepare recipe. For a vegetarian version use a vegetable stock, such as my Vegetable Stock which makes productive use of all your vegetable peelings, and omit the prosciutto.
- 20 g butter
- 2 leeks, thoroughly washed and then chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (medium to large)
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups frozen peas
- 6 slices prosciutto, halved (or you may prefer to halve the prosciutto after it has been cooked)
- crusty bread, such as ciabatta, to serve
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and cook the leeks for 5 minutes, stirring until they have softened; add the potatoes, garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes; add the stock and bring to the boil over a high heat; reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes; add the peas and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Puree with a hand blender until the soup is smooth. If you like a bit of chunkiness in your soups, take out a portion of the soup before pureeing, then return it to the pot after you've finished pureeing the bulk of the soup.
- Meanwhile, place the prosciutto on a baking tray and cook it under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes each side, until crisp.
- Season the soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and serve it in bowls with prosciutto and crispy rolls.
- TIP: If you're a microwave rather than a grill user, or your grill is a bit dodgy, you may prefer to cook your prosciutto in a single layer between 2 double sheets of kitchen paper for a couple of minutes in the microwave. Because microwaves vary so enormously in heat, if using this option, err on the side of caution and just cook the prosciutto for a minute to start with.and then perhaps for an extra 30 seconds at a time until the prosciutto is how you want it. It's too delicious to waste. Not quite as crisp as grilled, but a useful alternative. Apologies if this is a method you've known for years! It's a useful tip if you're unfamiliar with it.