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Author Notes: This recipe is Southern "gumbo-inspired," naturally thickened by its ingredients, butternut squash and the Cajun magic addition of filé (ground sassafras leaves). No need for the roux - the French base made of flour and oil. An invention of my Northern kitchen, the recipe starts with a simple sauté of garlic, shallot and serrano peppers in butter. Easy and elegant, from start to velvety finish, prep takes about an hour. —Vivian Henoch
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, cubed
- 1 pound lump crabmeat (preferably Maryland backfin)
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 shallot, chopped into fine pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 serrano peppers, seeds removed, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons filé
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a 2-quart pot, heat butter (or oil) and saute shallot, garlic and peppers, until softened to release the flavors.
- Add chicken stock and cubed squash, and cook until squash is cooked through.
- Remove vegetables in stock from heat. Using a slotted spoon, place vegetables in a food processor and blend until smooth. Return blended mixture to stock and stir. Add cream, nutmeg, filé, salt and pepper.
- Gently mix crabmeat into the soup or spoon generous portions of crabmeat over individual servings in a bowl.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish