Pea Soup with Potato Thyme Cream – The Theory of Everything

The Film:

The Dish:


The Reason:

If you can easily trace Stephen Hawking’s (Eddie Redmayne) theories of time and relativity, feel free to skip ahead to the recipe at the bottom. If like the rest of us you benefit from the relationship between space and quantum mechanics being explained by his doting wife Jane (Felicity Jones) with analogies of peas and potatoes, here’s something to do with them in the aftermath.

For both cosmologists and cooks alike the most elegant proofs are the simple ones. Hence this genial combination of soups is an exercise in  restraint. Peas, potatoes, onion and chicken stock are key players in both the roast dinners which punctuate the English lives of the world’s most famous scientist and these silken purees. Beyond that you’ll find a universal, milky way appeal in the swirled surface of the soup. And then there’s the thyme. As a herb it adds a depth of flavour and woodland twinkle. As a topic, its punning pal (Time) provides meaty fodder for a life of mental exploration. Creating this simple supper can be seen as a gesture of devotion. Not quite the same as caring for a spouse stricken with ALS for 30 years, mind you- but it’s a fine expression of love nonetheless.

The Way:

Pea Soup with Potato Thyme Cream


Serves 4

(Nb, for a slow carb alternative to the starchy potatoes, replace them with 2x 400g tins of white beans, drained and rinsed).



 Pea Soup
25 g butter
1 brown onion, peeled and cut into fine dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pinch salt
2 cups of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups/ 235 g frozen peas

Potato Thyme Cream
20 g butter
3 medium dutch cream potatoes, approx 500 g in total (you want a potato well suited to mashing)
1 bay leaf
1.5 cups/375 ml full cream milk
2 sprigs of fresh thyme


1) To make the pea soup melt 25 g of butter in a heavy bottom pan/saucepan over a medium heat. Add the diced onion, garlic and salt.

P11503592) Sweat over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally for 7-10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

3) Add the chicken stock and the peas and stir to combine over a medium heat (keep a few peas behind to use as garnish).


4) Use a stick blender to blitz until smooth, or transfer the contents to a food processor or blender.


5) Return the smooth soup to the pan and heat before serving.

To make the potato thyme cream

1) Peel the potato and cut into 1 cm dice.


2) Place the butter, one sprig 0f thyme and bay leaf in a saucepan/ heavy bottom pan and melt over a medium heat. Add the potato pieces and stir for 1-2 minutes, allowing the potato pieces to be coated in the butter.

P11503693) Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium/ low heat for 10 minutes, until the potato is soft. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and a few cooked potato cubes for garnish.

4) Use a stick blender to blitz  the potato and milk until you have a smooth puree. As soon as you have a puree, stop blitzing. The more you blitz, the greater chance the potato cream will morph into potato glue from the starches breaking down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


 To serve

1) Heat both the pea soup and potato cream. Portion the pea soup into bowls and then pour a swirl of potato cream into the centre of each bowl. Garnish with a few peas, cubes of potato and thyme leaves.

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