Steal This Recipe® Sugar Snap Pea Soup | Rioja, Denver

November 10, 2011

This tasty concoction was 'stolen with permission' from Chef Jennifer Jasinski

This tasty recipe was stolen with permission from Chef Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja Restaurant in Denver, Colorado, (named after the Spanish wine region which produces the most recognized wines in Spain). Sugar snap peas are available year round (fresh in the summer months and frozen in the winter).

The innovative menu at Rioja includes "Chestnut Fettuccine", "Butternut Squash Duck Risotto" and “Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi” – and many more enticing choices. A copper topped bar, exhibition kitchen and simple décor are the backdrop for the food in this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant – so if you're anywhere near Denver you really should stop by for a sumptuous meal!

About the chef: after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America Jennifer Jasinski worked at the famed Rainbow Room in New York where a chance meeting with Wolfgang Puck was to shape her future career. Drawn back to her native sunny California she landed a job at the prestigious Hotel Bel Air and had the opportunity to re-acquaint herself with Puck who was a consultant at the time for the hotel's restaurant. This led to a creative and fruitful 10-year association which took Jasinski around the country as she helped to develop and open restaurants, create menus, train and manage staff and of course, don her chef's hat, for restaurants ranging from fine-dining to café cuisine.

After having settled in Colorado in 2000 as Executive Chef at Panzano she worked with Beth Gruitch and in 2003 they ventured into their first restaurant-owning partnership, opening Rioja in 2004. In 2006 the successful partners went on to purchase Bistro Vendome, a classic French bistro located just across the street from Rioja in Denver.

1431 Larimer Street 
Colorado 80202 
303 820 2282

Sugar Snap Pea Soup is served at Rioja for $7. 
This recipe makes eight 8 oz restaurant servings.

Sugar Snap Pea Soup Ingredients: 
4 oz butter 
4 cups leeks, sliced 
4 cups celery, diced 
8 cloves garlic 
1/2 teaspoon white pepper 
2 bay leaves 
2 1/2 basil leaves 
1/2 oz thyme 
8 pints veggie stock 
8 pints raw sugar snap peas 
2 cups heavy cream 
1 tablespoon sugar 
Salt and white pepper

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions: 
Sweat the leeks, garlic and celery in butter until the leeks are translucent with no color. 
Add the herbs, bay, and pepper. 
Add the cream to this and reduce until very thick, then add one half of the vegetable stock (the remaining 4 pints of veggie stock will help cool the soup down faster, later). Simmer this soup base for 10-15 minutes. 
Add the snap peas to the hot base and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining veggie stock (4 pints). 
Blend the soup with a hand held blender until smooth, season with salt, white pepper and the sugar, passing through a chinois.

Note: This soup needs to be chilled as quickly as possible to retain bright color (and can then be heated - so you can make it ahead of time for convenience). If the soup doesn't blend smooth with the hand held blender, a regular blender may be necessary to improve the yield and body.

Garnish with long raw young pea shoots and serve.