The answer is a soup that’s immensely lighter both in body and flavour, but that still retains the heartiness of a chunkier stew. This is a dish made for springtime, even if the peas are frozen: warm, green, slightly sweet, and very creamy.
Topping with poached quail eggs is the X-factor, adding an irresistibly smooth texture that’s to die for and a big boost of protein so you stay full!
In a large soup pot, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble slightly, add the leeks, onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the leeks and onion are soft and translucent.
Add the frozen peas and the chicken stock to the soup pot, stirring the mixture together with a spoon. Bring the soup to a boil and immediately reduce heat, letting it settle to a low simmer. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peas are tender.
Carefully transfer the soup to a blender. Lightly purée the soup so that it’s mostly uniform, but still slightly chunky in texture.
Return the soup to the pot and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to low and let the soup continue to simmer, stirring occasionally. As the soup simmers, prepare the poached eggs.
Stir in the heavy cream to the soup to finish. Serve in large bowls, garnish with fresh herbs, a little drizzle of olive oil, and place 2 or 3 poached eggs gently in the centre of the soup. Serve immediately.
Fill a large skillet with several inches of water. Salt the water heavily and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat so that the water is barely simmering. (You should see small bubbles on the bottom of the pan.)
Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small sieve set over a large bowl. Discard the loose egg whites that drain into the bowl. Carefully place each egg into a small bowl or ramekin, then tip the bowl gently so the egg falls slowly into the simmering water. Using a slotted spoon, gently make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cracking eggs and adding them to the water, one at a time.
Cook the eggs, uncovered, for 2 minutes, or until the whites are cooked through and the yolk is soft to touch. Drain them on a paper-towel-lined plate.