Mint and Pea Soup with Cripsy Shallots

Crispy Shallots:

1 large Shallot
1/2 tbs vegetable oil


1 small white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1 tbs vegetable oil
3 cups vegetable stock
about 3 cups water
1 1/2 lbs frozen peas
2/3 cups unpacked fresh mint
1/3 block light cream cheese
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Fresh cracked pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving

This might sound like an odd combination, but it's classic and delicious!  If served warm, the mint flavor will be less intense.  For a more intense mint flavor, serve chilled.

For the crispy shallots:
In a pan (I used the dutch oven I was going to use for the soup), heat oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Chop and separate the sections of the shallots.  Fry in the oil for about 3-4 minutes or until brown but not burnt.  Be careful because this transition can happen quickly.  Set aside and lightly salt.

For the soup:
In the same dutch oven (make sure there are no bits of shallot left), add a bit more oil to set heat to medium.  Add the chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, cayenne, and some salt and pepper.  Saute for about 7 minutes.  Then, add the stock and peas.  Add enough water to ensure that all of the ingredients are covered.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until all vegetables are very tender.  Do not worry about over cooking the vegetables because they are going to be pureed.  When vegetables are very soft, add the cream cheese and heat through until dissolved.

Add the mint and stir for about 1 minute.

Then, in a blender or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  If desire, pass through a sieve for an extra smooth soup.

Garnish with the crispy shallots, fresh cracked pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a mint sprig.  Enjoy!