Saturday, September 17, 2011

Potage St Germain (well nearly)

It's always great when a recipe combines several of your great loves, and this soup does that. Soup. Low GI goodness. France. And a friend's blog. Too good to pass up.

Split peas are a nutritional storehouse, with a fabulous low GI of 32. 

I've never really been a fan of the traditional pea and ham soup, I find it too furry on the tongue, and the colour is usually unappealing. Here, we don't have the ham, and the soup is glammed  up by addition of fresh peas at the end to give it a great colour boost. So when my friend Hannah blogged this simple French potage, I knew I would have to give it a try quite soon. So I did. And it was fab. 

Although it turns out this isn't really a traditional Potage St Germain, which is more a fresh pea soup made with stock, lettuce, onion and celery. I felt certain that Elizabeth David had a recipe for Potage St Germain in her book French Provinical Cooking, but I suddenly can't find it. The name of course brings to mind St Germain de Pres, a lovely but dilapidated church on the left bank of Paris. 

2 cups green split peas (400g)
1 litre water
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large brown onion (200gm), coarsely chopped
2 trimmed sticks celery (150gm), coarsely chopped
1.25 litres chicken or vegetable stock 
500gm frozen peas
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Soak split peas in the water in a large bowl for 3 hours or overnight.

Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Stir in celery, cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add undrained peas and stock, bring to a boil; simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour or until peas are tender (skimming the surface and stirring occasionally). Stir in frozen peas; cook, for about 10 minutes until peas are tender.

Blitz soup in high speed blender, until smooth.

Return soup to pan. Heat through. Season to taste, and garnish, with mint or garnish of your choice.

Pretend you're in Paris whilst you eat. 


My 10 year old ate this without complaint- just the usual bribe of bread and butter. 

I garnished with creme fraiche and chives, as that's what I had on hand. 

I only noticed the soup was meant to be simmered uncovered when I typed the recipe here. I did it covered.

I'm cross posting this on my low GI blog.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.


  1. The addition of fresh peas sounds like it would brighten up both the color and the flavor.

    Split pea soup is a favorite of mine -- vegetarian, with ham, with leftover poultry. The flavors in your recipe are very simple and I bet delicious. I'm always adding herbs, a little ginger, maybe some hot pepper sauce ... not very authentically French.

    I'll have to see if I have that Elizabeth David recipe around here somewhere.

  2. What a nice pea soup and one that can be made vegetarian as well. I will have to try this! :)

  3. I'm not wild for split peas, but I bet this would work with other things as well?

  4. I need a good split pea recipe. I will have to try it.
    Myself, I am making spicy pumpkin soup this weekend. Curry, coriander, red pepper...yum.

  5. I can't wait to try this. I love split pea soup but I never thought of adding fresh/frozen peas. They would make it look so much better. I also didn't know split peas were so good for you. Now I'll also feel smug when eating this.

  6. Not sure that I am a big fan of split peas, but this does look so pretty in the plate!

  7. I will have to give this a try. My mom is on a heart healthy diet and misses her split pea with ham soup. This might be a good alternative for her. I think it looks beautiful!

  8. Beth- the addition of the fresh peas is genius I think. It definitely lifts both the colour and flavour.

    Uniflame- it is easily vegetarian (depending on the stock you use), and could easily be vegan without the yoghurt.

    Nan- you could used lentils maybe?

    Marg- yes I always like the look of green soups. So pretty.

    Beth- this would be perfect for your Mum.

    Caite- oh how I hope you blog the pumpkin soup recipe! Pumpkin soup is really my favourite.

    Margot- split peas are very good for you- you can feel totally virtuous. It's a health food really.