At my local farmer’s market, I picked up some lovage, not really knowing what it was. I was given a little sample of it, and liked it a lot, so I figured it must be good in cooking! When I came home, I read up a little on it. It’s flavor is reminisent of celery, and it looks a little like celery leaves. Some people use it just like parsley in a wide variety of uses. I find that it has a stronger taste and like parsley, works wonderfully as a garnish. It also has been historically used to treat a wide variety of complaints. You can read about it here.
Since it was often pared with potato soup, I was going to give that a try, but, for some reason potato soup wasn’t catching my fancy. So instead, working with what I had on hand, I made a simple potato and pea “creamed” soup, and garnished it with the fresh lovage right before serving. I love it! It had a fresh, light flavor. The peas add sweetness and a beautiful color to the soup, the potatoes add a “creaminess” that is obtained without any cream, and the lovage adds a lot of flavor.
This is super easy to make and fast as well. It probably took around 30 minutes to make (it’s especially easy if you have a hand blender).
If you can’t find lovage locally, you could consider growing it (I want to now!). It is supposed to be very hardy and easy to grow. And as you can use it in many various ways in cooking, I am sure it would be great to have a source right outside your door.
I also realized that this recipe is quite frugal (even though I was using all organic ingredients!). It’s so nice to make a meal that truly feels gourmet, nourishing, and satisfying without forking a lot of money out for it. It’s really a soup made out of basic, ingredients, with a twist with the lovage.
Potato and Pea Soup with Lovage
Makes 6-8 servings
For those interested in this soup who can’t find lovage, consider using another type of herb (like basil, or another favorite). I found that this simple soup is a wonderful canvas for herbs.
We love this soup hot, but I even like it, French style, cold on a hot day (like it was today). You might want to give it a try, if the weather is hot! Another variation you could do is only blending part of it, to give a slightly smooth, slightly chunky soup.
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
6 medium peeled and cubed potatoes
3 cups of frozen (or fresh) peas
8 cups of chicken broth (preferably homemade)
salt and pepper to taste
Several springs of lovage, leaves pulled off of stems and finely chopped (make sure it’s finely chopped as lovage can be a little thick)
In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat, add onions when hot. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add potatoes and chicken broth, and bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about ten minutes and then add the peas. Simmer for about another ten minutes, until the peas are heated through, and the potatoes are soft.
Blend with a hand blender until smooth, or blend in a regular blender a few cups at a time (be careful! Hot liquids move fast in a blender). Reheat on the stove, if needed and Salt and pepper to taste.
Add about a tablespoon of lovage per bowl right before serving, and enjoy!