Country Pea Soup with Smoked Ham & Apple Muffins




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3 quarts plus 3 cups prepared condensed green pea soup
2 quarts water
1 pound 9 ounces frozen peas
15 ounces fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1-1/2 cups sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons fresh snipped mint or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried, divided
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 quart cored, thinly sliced Gala apples (other crisp apple may be substituted)
1-1/2 pounds sliced smoked ham
12 ounces sliced Jarlsberg cheese
12 Bays English Muffins, split


Combine pea soup, water and frozen peas in a large saucepan. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in spinach; remove soup from heat. Cool 15 to 20 minutes.

Ladle half of soup into blender container. Add half of sour cream and mint. Cover and blend on low until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining soup, sour cream and mint. Hold and serve at 140° F to 160° F.

Melt butter, brown sugar and dry mustard in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly to combine. Add apples and sauté just until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove apples from pan with slotted spoon; hold warm for per-order preparation.

Add sliced ham to sautéed apple mixture, tossing to coat and heat. Hold warm for per-order preparation.

Evenly place cheese, then ham on each muffin half. Top each half with 3 apple slices. Ladle soup into cup or bowl. Garnish with remaining sour cream and mint. Serve immediately.



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