RECIPE – Pea & Mint Soup with Bang Bang Bacon Bits

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Cesare - Dragon Chef
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I am Cesare - Dragon Chef. Marvel at my culinary expertise, humans. I cook with Bang! Bang! Oil and produce awe-inspiring dishes to blow your tiny minds.

Chilli & mint is a marriage made in heaven and once you add the sweetness of peas and the smoky saltiness of bacon you’re in for a real treat.

This is a great ‘all-year-round’ soup – in the winter serve hot with crusty bread, when summer comes, serve chilled in glasses.

Ingredients
For the soup:
  • 750g frozen peas
  • 10 spring onions topped and tailed and cut into ½ cm rounds
  • 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • A good handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • A good handful of fresh mint finely chopped (reserve a few leaves for garnishing)
  • A knob of butter
  • A 200g pot of crème fraiche
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Freshly milled sea salt and black pepper
For the bacon bits:
  • Four rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut into ½ cm strips
  • 1 tsp Bang! Bang! Oil
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C Fan
  2. Put the sliced spring onions into a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and gently cook over a low to medium heat for about 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic to the onions and cook for a further minute.
  4. Add the chopped herbs, caster sugar and stock then bring to the boil.
  5. Add the peas, bring the heat back up gently and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Using a hand blender, blitz until as smooth as possible.
  7. Pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibrous skins, squeezing as much of the liquid as you can. (If you’re making this for yourself you can skip this step for a more textured and rustic soup, however if you really want to impress your friends this step will produce a very velvety and shiny soup.)
  8. Pour back into the pan, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the crème fraiche, bring back to a gentle simmer and leave for 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile in an oven-proof pan cook the bacon strips for a couple of minutes over a medium high heat until the fat starts to render, then put in the oven (if you don’t have an oven proof frying pan, transfer the bacon onto a baking tray).
  10. After 5 minutes remove the bacon, spoon off the excess fat from the pan, then return to the oven for a further five minutes.
  11. Again, spoon off the excess bacon fat (most of it should have rendered down by now and the bacon should just be starting to get crispy). Add a teaspoon of Bang! Bang! Oil to the pan and stir it through before returning to the oven for a final five or so minutes. At this point the bacon bits can burn in seconds, so keep an eye on it and be ready to take it out before it starts to char.
  12. Transfer the bacon bits into a bowl lined with kitchen roll and allow to cool.
  13. When you’re ready to serve, heat the soup through, then add a knob of butter straight from the fridge and whisk until melted. This will give the soup a mouth-watering shine!
  14. Check and adjust the seasoning. Depending on the stock you use, you may not need to add any salt at all.
  15. Pour into bowl and garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche, the reserved mint leaves, bacon bits and a twist of black pepper.

For a vegetarian alternative to bacon try using halloumi cheese or meat-free bacon (or ‘facon’ as I like to call it).

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