Hurray!!! It’s Spring again at Central Farm Markets! The Bethesda Market has been open all winter, but we’re getting ready to open the Pike and Mosaic Central Farm Markets in just a few weeks. All of the vendors are starting to return and we are so happy to get the season underway.
Two of the first things we see at the beginning of Spring – pea shoots and green garlic – are both great ways to welcome the warmer season. Both are featured in this delicious, simple Pea Shoot Soup. Also featured is the hardy, flavor-packed bone broth from Painted Hand Farm and the insanely fresh, delectable milk from Woodbourne Creamery.
Pea shoots are the leaves that sprout from the traditional garden pea plant. Garden peas usually take all of Spring to grow. At the Young Harvests farm, pea shoots are harvested after just a few weeks, when the leaves are tender, young and literally bursting with a distinctive pea flavor. Pea shoots are packed with Vitamins A, C, and folic acid. They have a low energy density…in other words, they have fewer calories per mouthful. Pea shoots can be eaten hot or cold, in salads or just as a snack.
Green garlic is collected before the bulbs start to mature. Chop or slice white, light green, and the first few inches of the dark green leaves (as long as they are tender, not soggy or brown). The taste of green garlic is quite garlicky, but more moderate with a less intense bite. Whenever cooked, the green garlic sweetens, adding a brand new layer of depth to whatever dish you choose to make with it. Green garlic is well known as a natural health remedy that has long been used to treat various ailments. It boosts the immune system, is rich in iron, and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that can help prevent infection.
This is a perfect dish to make on a sunny afternoon after you leave the market. Pair it with a slice of Upper Crust Bakery bread and you’ve got yourself a fabulous meal. Pack it in a thermos and take it on a picnic. Enjoy the weather- finally!!!!
Pea Shoot Soup
- 2½ cups Bone Broth* (Painted Hand Farms)
- ½ cup Whole Milk (Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard)
- 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 6 heaping handfuls of Pea Shoots (Young Harvests)
- 4 Green Garlic bulbs, chopped (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
- 2 heaping handfuls of Spinach (Young Harvests)
- 3 Tbsp. Butter (Springfield Farm)
*Use store-bought vegetable broth to make this soup vegetarian
In a large saucepan, bring stock and milk to boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add green garlic to hot oil and cook until it starts to become translucent. Add pea shoots and cook for 1-2 minutes or until pea shoots wilt and green garlic is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add pea shoots mixture to stock mixture. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add raw spinach to mixture.
Using an immersion or regular blender, blend until vegetable mixture is almost smooth. I prefer to stop blending just before the soup is at the point of being pureed.
Stir butter into soup and season to taste. Garnish with a small handful pea shoots and serve hot.