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Cold Split Pea Soup with Mint


2 cups dry green split peas
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Fresh mint for garnish

Wash and pick over the peas. Bring the stock to a boil in a large heavy saucepan or soup kettle. Add the peas, onion, celery, garlic, cumin seed, cloves, bay leaf, and mint. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 hours, until the peas are soft and easily mashed. Remove the bay leaf. Pass the soup through a fine sieve or food mill, mashing the peas and onion through the strainer and leaving the bulk of the mint and celery behind. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Add the heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Note: if you adjusted the seasoning prior to refrigerating the soup, you will probably have to add more salt and pepper after it has chilled. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.

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