Monday, November 30, 2009

A Spring Soup to Fall for - Potage Saint-Germain

Potage St. Germain

An elegant and delicate French soup of green peas, leeks, lettuce, and mint, Potage Saint-Germain is traditionally enjoyed in the spring, when fresh green peas are in season. I stumbled upon one lone packet of shelled peas while marketing for Thanksgiving produce. Among the rutabagas, yams, and green beans, they looked like foundlings in need of a good home. So I adopted them. Days after the feast, they provided the perfect remedy for a jaded appetite, a jade-colored purée of simplicity and good taste. I felt renewed. It felt like Easter.

Autumn Potage Saint-Germain - Loosely based on the Epicurious recipe

Makes 2 to 3 servings.


2 large leeks (white and green parts), trimmed of roots and coarse leaves
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 generous cups fresh or frozen green peas, rinsed
1 heart of romaine lettuce, stemmed and chopped, including unbruised outer dark green leaves
3 cups vegetable stock (I used mushroom)
1/2 cup milk or cream, any fat content
Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped (or if tiny, keep whole)
1 teapoon salt (omit if you've used well-salted stock).
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional garnishes:
1/4 cup cream, any fat content
A few reserved mint leaves
Snipped chives


Slice leek stalks into coins and separate into rings. Soak rings in bowl of cold water for ten minutes, agitating occasionally. (N.B. - Leeks notoriously harbor sand in their very finely ribbed recesses. Special care must be taken to rid even the smallest particle, which will impart a nasty grit that will ruin the recipe.) Transfer rings into colander (sand will have sunken to bottom of bowl) and rinse under running water. Pat rings with toweling to remove excess water, then add them to a large saucepan where you have gently warmed the butter or oil over very low heat.

Sauté leeks until limp and golden, about 6 minutes. Add peas, lettuce, and stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover saucepan, allowing some steam to escape, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender, adding mint leaves. Purée until smooth. (Take care; it will be very hot.) Transfer purée into clean saucepan. Add milk or cream, black pepper, and salt. Stir briefly over very low heat. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Ladle into serving bowls, drip optional cream onto surface, and swirl with a skewer or toothpick. Add optional mint leaves, chives, and/or croutons. Serve immediately.
Fresh Peas
Fresh peas.

This recipe is for Sra of When My Soup Came Alive, hosting MLLA 17. Sra will have the round-up online as soon as possible. Do stop by and peruse the menu. I'm sure there is yet another feast coming up.


Been There, Done That ~
Chickpea Caldo Verde
Cannellini, Fennel, and Olives

Other People's Eats ~

Black Bean Soup with Fried Egg
Rigatoni with Legume and Vegetable Soup


  1. Perfect - I just bought a pound of farm fresh peas. I can't wait to try this recipe out.
    I was also considering a recipe from Martha Stewart's Living Cookbook - minted pea soup - but these gorgeous pictures made the decision for me!

  2. This would be fantastic anytime of the year Susan!!!!

  3. Good adoption choice. And really your photos feel like Easter: the soup is of a lovely green.

  4. A great soup! Very pleasant!



  5. Gorgeous soup--and how lovely to be transported to spring at this time of year. Funny that we both posted such vibrantly green foods!

  6. Love that crooked trail of croutons and the contrast between the greens of the soup and dish.

    Here the weather has changed from hot to tepid so I still don't feel like soup! But I don't feel like salad either, anymore!

  7. I'm in love with that shot of the peas. Peas are my first vegetable love, dating back to when I had just enough teeth to chew them. And how about the worlds cutest croutons, I really didn't know croutons could be so adorable. I love the sound of this soup.

  8. Peas, mint and leeks must create magic in the pot. I am in love with the color of your soup.

  9. Mmmmmmmm, lovely! I bet it tasted so fresh. Gorgeous photos as ever Susan :)

  10. I like your trail of breadcrumbs in the first picture. :)

    This is one I'll keep in mind for spring, unless we need a spot of green in the middle of the dreariness of February.

  11. absolutely gorgeous! This is a great way to enjoy peas and vegetables :)

  12. Shweata - Thank you. It's a very simple soup to prepare. The flavors are wonderful. I hope you enjoy it. : )

    Val - Thanks! It's rare to find fresh peas in these parts during the northern cold, even imported from elsewhere. Surprisingly enough, the frozen aren't bad, either - a stronger flavor, but not bad.

    Simona - Thanks. I love that green, too.

    Rosa - Thank you!

    Ricki - Thanks. We are always lured to the season we are not in. ; ) Thumbs up to green!

    Sra - Thanks. That trail of croutons practically needed to be glued down. : D This soup would also work cold, perhaps with more mint in the mix.

    Hi, Sara. Thank you. That's a very sweet memory. The croutons were almost as small as the peas themselves.

    Vaishali - Thanks. As Harini had commented to my Flickr photo, it is a very calming soup to look at.

    And speaking of Harini...Thank you!

    Hi, Jacqueline! Thanks always. Good to see you!

    Ruhama - Thanks. February is just about the time when winter gets a little old.

    Wiffy - Thanks always. It's easy peasy, for sure. ; }