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Pea And Asparagus Soup

ingredients

7 oz (200 g) peas, fresh or frozen
5 oz (150 g) asparagus tips
2 spring onions
2 medium-sized new potatoes
1 small lettuce
2 pints (1.2 litres) vegetable stock or chicken stock
7 oz (200 g) long-grain rice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp sunflower oil
generous 1 oz (35 g) unsalted butter
salt and pepper

method

1. Bring the stock to the boil. Prepare the vegetables: use the tender, top half of the well washed asparagus spears; measure out the above net weight and cut them into pieces about 3/4 in (2 cm) long.

2. Slice the spring onions. Peel the potatoes and dice. Shred the lettuce into a chiffonade. Heat scant 1 oz (20 g) of the butter with 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and sweat the spring onions until tender.

3. Add the peas and lettuce and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the boiling hot stock, stir and allow to return to the boil before sprinkling in the rice.

4. Add the potatoes and asparagus. Stir briefly, cover but leave a gap for the steam to escape, reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 14 - 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender but still fairly firm.

5. Remove from the heat, add the solid remaining butter and the chopped parsley. Stir until the butter has melted and blended. Season and serve.

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