London Pea Souper Recipe

A warming pea soup topped with smoked eel and served in a bread bowl.

Photo: Joe Sarah

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • For the bread bowls

  • 5g dried yeast (or 10g of fresh yeast if you can get it)

  • 350ml warm water

  • 500g strong white flour

  • 10g sea salt

  • 20ml rapeseed oil

  • For the pea and eel soup

  • 3 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 knob of butter

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped

  • Pinch of paprika

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of smoked sea salt

  • 500g frozen garden peas

  • 400ml hot organic chicken stock

  • 4tbsp of creme fraiche

  • Small bunch of mint. Roughly chopped, (6 small leaves kept to garnish at the end)

  • Juice of 1 lemon – zest of half

  • 200g of smoked eel fillets

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C and place a baking sheet or stone in to warm up.

  2. To make the bread bowls: stir the yeast into the warm water using a fork.

  3. Weigh the flour and salt into a big bowl and add the oil. Pour the dissolved yeast into a bowl and stir.

  4. Once it comes together, turn out and knead the dough for about 15 minutes (10 minutes by machine) until smooth and elastic. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to double in size for about an hour.

  5. Divide the dough into 6 and roll in the palm of your hands to get a good round shape then cover with rapeseed oil and place into individual baking tins. Dust the top of each loaf with flour and then cover the tin and leave it in a warm place to double in size or for about 1 hour (whichever is first).

  6. For the perfect crust, place a dish of water on the oven floor. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 230°C and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden.

  7. To make the soup: heat the butter and the oil and a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and fry for 3 minutes or until soft and just colouring. Add paprika, cayenne and smoked sea salt.

  8. Add the peas and warm chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about six minutes or until the peas are cooked. Take off the heat.

  9. Slice the tops off your loaves and remove the ‘inner bread’ to make a bowl for the soup.

  10. Add the bread along with the crème fraiche, mint, zest and lemon juice to the soup.

  11. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

  12. Pour a little oil inside the loaves, season and return to the oven to warm through for five minutes.

  13. Pour the soup into the loaves and flake the smoked eel on top. Serve with a dusting of paprika, mint and crème fraiche.