cajun shrimp and artichoke soup

soup in bowlGuess who’s back…back again…

I’ve been cooking up a storm on this beautiful Easter Sunday, and as I lie here on the couch, stuffed full of delicious food, I figure I may as well do something productive (but not that productive) and bloggaboutit. I broke out my Heavy Fancy Camera for the first time in months,  and I’m here to share the fruits (de mer) of my labor.

This soup is creamy. It’s spicy. It’s shrimpy. I can’t even talk about it.

raw shrimpI learned something important about myself today. I have a lot of kitchen-stress. If I’m preparing more than one dish (and today I was preparing three), I become a crazy person, and probably a bad friend. I smack people with spatulas if they put on music that I don’t like. I run with scissors. I use bad words. I use good words badly. I basically break all the rules of kindergarten.

The recipe for this soup originally called for only green onions (scallions). Unstoppable maverick that I am, I used both green onions and regular white onions. We’ve temporarily left the strictly regimented world of baking, and stepped into the free-will realm of cooking. Anything goes. Winter is coming.

soup goodThe cool thing about this soup is that, if you want a broth-y soup rather than a creamy soup (looking at you, Mom), you can skip the roux and half-n-half entirely, and just use the vegetable stock as the base. When I proposed this idea to my friend and fellow Easter feaster, I was greeted with a pained look and a plaintive gesture towards the butter and cream. Either way, you won’t be sorry.

whisking creamThis is me madly whisking half-and-half into a rapidly browning roux. Calm down, lady.

If you feel fancy, you can set aside a few shrimp to sauté with a little butter and cajun seasoning, to use as a garnish. Or just throw them all right into the soup and call it a day.

shrimps in pot

Recipe for Cajun Shrimp and Artichoke Soup (adapted from eRecipecards.blogspot.com)

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (you can substitute chicken stock, or seafood stock)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • quarter of a white onion, chopped
  • 5 artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. cajun seasoning
  • 14-16 shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
  • salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine vegetable stock, onions (green and white), artichokes, and cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a separate saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter and blending it with the flour – this will result in a thick, pasty consistency. Once the flour is fully blended, add the half-and half and whisk it together with the roux until completely incorporated.

Once the half-and-half mixture has thickened slightly, add it to the saucepan with the vegetable stock, and stir to combine. Allow the soup to continue simmering for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the soup and continue cooking for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and curled up.

Note: do NOT add the shrimp until you are ready to serve the soup, as shrimp cook very quickly, and will begin to overcook if left for too long.

Add additional salt or cajun seasoning to taste, and enjoy!

 

 

 

crab cakes

Is it one word or two? Crab Cakes or Crabcakes? Truthfully, I spent most of the evening calling them Krabby Patties. I didn’t actually get any pictures of these after they were cooked (too hungry), but they were delicious. I found the recipe in my mom’s recipe binder, so I have no idea where it came from and who deserves the credit, but someone sure does. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to add some chopped jalapeños or something else to give them a little spice. Traditionally, crabcakes are fried, but please, for the love of all that is low-rise and ultra-skinny, consider baking them or grilling them instead. They are just as delicious, I promise.

Crabcake Recipe

  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 16 oz. lump crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • additional egg for coating

Chili Sauce

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tsp. chili-garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Sautee the celery, onions, and green peppers for a few minutes and place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup chili sauce to the crabcake mixture, along with the egg. Add the mustard, black pepper, seasoning and breadcrumbs to the mixture. Combine mixture with crabmeat. Form small patties, and lightly coat with egg. Chill in fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight), then bake/grill/fry.

1/2 cup chili sauce remains as a dipping sauce.