English Pea Soup with Poached Duck Egg and Pumpernickel Croutons

12 05 2009
English Peas. Can't you tell!

English Peas. Can't you tell!

This one was amazingly simple really and started with one ingredient from the market: duck eggs!

Duck Eggs

Duck Eggs

I bought 6 duck eggs and I even moved the top carton to get one that had blue/green shells in it just for fun.  Duck eggs seem to be on the firmer side and just overall are very yummy. I had them once from the market a few years ago so I was excited to get another go around.  However, last time I just made them like chicken eggs scrambled, etc. So this time I wanted to do something different when I googled across this recipe (which ironically is a Seattle link!) So destiny was born.

The first thing I had to do was google English Peas and it turns out they are regular peas: which made the recipe feasible in the first place.  I went ahead to the grocery store and bought some pumpernickel bread to make the croutons and all the other fixings.  The only thing I decided against was the champagne vinegar. For 12 dollars I couldn’t justify it but I could justify the 7 dollar bottle of pear infused vinegar. Go figure.

So the soup was pretty easy to make.  Fry the onions, add the mineral water, peas, boil until tender and blend. Mix in some fake sour cream and done.  The croutons were almost just as hard to make because I had to cut the bread before I baked the chunks in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp.  At that point we were almost done the only left to do was poach the eggs. Oh except for the part where the blender with the hot water and peas exploded and shot green soup onto many things in my kitchen. As bad as that sounds for some reason this wasn’t a big deal to clean up. Go figure.

I had made the body of the soup a bit before dinner because I was expecting folks at 6 and they needed to be home by 8 so I wanted to poach the eggs and serve. This plan worked great!

I had never poached eggs but it wasn’t really hard. Boiling water + egg = cooking so that part took care of itself. The hardest part was with the duck eggs the membrane lining the egg is quite strong! And it took me a couple of whacks against the side of the bowl and quite a bit of force from my hand to open the eggs.  It made me a bit nervous I was going to crack the yolks and/or throw them across the room but none of those things happened. The eggs just dropped into the water and cooked.

I don’t know if it was because they were duck eggs or its how poached eggs always go but the egg white stayed in an almost egg shape like I was soft boiling the egg just without the shell magically.  There really weren’t many tendrils produced like I would expect and egg to do when dropped in water and cooked on its own accord. Never having poached eggs before and having a few folks who wanted them more done than others it was a bit of an adventure. However, without the shell on it was pretty easy to tell how done they were and in the end I did a good job of getting 2 more medium and 2 more done. Chalk that one up to something!

Once the eggs were done and dried I seasoned them with some salt and pepper and then off to their new lives into pre-served bowls of soup they went.  A handful of croutons into each bowl and sprig of mint I bought at the market for some garnish.  So the soup looked great but how did it taste?

Really good.  Which in a way was a bit of a surprise for a few reason.  First of all when I was “salting and peppering” to taste the soup wasn’t amazing. It was good but not really anything to write in a food log about.  But the egg added so much to it.  The duck eggs are really rich and when the medium done eggs were cut open their liquid inside flowed and mingled with the soup and it added a huge amount of flavor to it to my surprise.  And on top of that the white of the eggs didn’t detract from that at all either.  It just added some lovely firmer texture than chicken egg whites.  On top of the eggs the croutons at first seemed to really over power the soup but after they sat and absorbed some they mellowed out and really were good in it.  And lastly but not least one of the guests reported that the soup right under the mint was infused with mint and very yummy.

So yeah it totally was worth it! Glad I’ve got some soup and 2 duck eggs left.




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