Chilled Pea Soup with Shrimp

It’s pretty common for me to dream about food, but not all that often that I have such a vivid dream about a dish that I wake up really excited to cook it. It might be the warmer weather here, but last night I had a dream that I made a chilled pea soup topped with shrimp and diced veggies. When I woke up, one of the first things I did was head to the store to get some good produce and some really fresh Gulf shrimp, and head out to my garden to grab some herbs, tomatoes, and celery. This recipe will make 2-3 bowls (I just had the one, but there is at least one more serving left over in my fridge), and because you shock the warm soup in an ice bath, it not only doesn’t require hours of chilling time but it stays bright bright green.

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium/homemade)
1 pint heavy cream
16 oz bag frozen shelled peas, thawed
1 sprig fresh mint (I used Lebanese mint because it’s a bit milder than the peppermint I have, but any mint will do)
1 sprig fresh chamomile
2 small sprigs fennel fronds
1/2 – 1 tsp salt (depending on how much salt your stock has)
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 stalk celery
extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large cucumber, diced (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
1 avocado, cut in a small dice
1/2 bell pepper, cut in small dice
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lemon
Sour cream

-Cook your shrimp as desired (I grilled mine with salt, pepper, and olive oil, but you can also saute yours). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
-Dice the onion, garlic, and celery, and set aside a little onion for the garnish. Saute the rest of the onion with the garlic and celery with some olive oil until golden.
-Add the stock and salt, and heat until simmering.
-Meanwhile, fill a very large bowl with ice cubes and nest a smaller bowl in it, making sure the ice is around the bottom and sides of this small bowl. You’ll pour the soup into this smaller bowl to ‘shock’ it. This cools it down (it is chilled soup, after all), and shocking it helps the peas keep their bright green color.
-Add the peas to the stock and cook for 2-3 minutes.
-Shock the soup by pouring it into the bowl nestled in ice.
-Pour the soup into a blender, along with the cream, cucumber, mint, fennel, and chamomile. Blend until it’s as smooth as you would like it to be.
-Pour the soup into bowls. Top with diced vegetables (make sure to squeeze the juice of half the lemon on the diced avocado right after you cut it so it doesn’t oxidize), sour cream, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. I also put a couple chamomile flowers on top!
-Eat!

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