Well, it's mid-February in New Orleans and Winter has finally decided to pay a visit.
We did Trick Or Treat in shirt sleeves, Christmas in flip-flops but now it looks like Valentine's Day will be great 'snuggle' weather. Finally. Don't blink y'all. Winter lasts about one weekend down here.
And with Mardi Gras a little over a week or so away, you can hear the glue guns buzzing across the city. Like some mega-episode of "Project Runway," self-proclaimed costumers are busy at work designing - and re-designing - their works of art for the big day. With the arrival of Old Man Winter, I'm thinking some folks are going back to the drawing board. So much for that Lady Godiva look!
Anywho, when the weather turns nippy, I think 'sippy' - as in cup 'o soup. That brings us to why we're here.
My dear husband, the brilliant actor, has been starring in a production of "Hairspray" down here. Kids' future therapy bills aside, it's been a great experience for the whole family. A great experience, that is, except for the nasty sinus infection which He picked up backstage and then shared with the rest of us.
So, with the weather getting colder - and everyone feeling decidedly lousy, I was inspired to make something to warm us up from the inside out. Thus, today's recipe: Lump Crab and Butternut Squash Bisque. Seriously, y'all this is heaven by the spoonful! Good for what ails you - or just plain good. And, as is always my goal, it's a velvety-smooth way to sneak a bowl full of beta-carotene-rich veggies into my unsuspecting offspring. (Cue evil laugh.)
LUMP CRAB & BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
1 stick of butter
1 large, sweet onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 1bs of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups of chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup of cream
1 cup of lump crab meat
crab for garnish
Get a heavy, thick pot with a lid and coat the bottom with olive oil. Place the stick of butter in and let it melt over low heat. Chop the onion. Peel and slice (not chop) garlic. Add both to the pot and let them saute over medium heat until translucent - do not burn the garlic! Stir periodically as this cooks for around 5 minutes. Now, add the squash. Stir. Should be bubbling and smelling good by now. With heat on medium, cover the pot to smother the squash. Check and stir every 5 minutes. After about 20 minutes - when the squash cubes are starting to soften, add the white wine. Cook, uncovered for 10 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Smells good, right? Now add the chicken stock, herbs and seasoning. Cover and let the whole thing simmer until the squash is really tender - about 15 minutes. Now, remove the bay leaves and process the soup till smooth. I use a wand blender right in the pot. Add salt now - to taste - or just let folks add salt at the table if they choose. Now add the cream and stir to incorporate. Keep the flame low so as not to curdle the cream. Carefully clean the shells from a cup of lump crab meat - trying not to break up the lumps. Gently fold that into the bisque. Serve with lump crab garnish on top each bowl. YUM!!!!
WOW! It is so gratifying to watch my kids enjoying this bowl of golden goodness. Hey, you think I could EVER get them to eat a bowl of buttered squash? NEVER. But THIS stuff? They will polish off the whole pot if I let them. Sometimes, you must 'soup' to conquer, my friend!
So, welcome Mardi Gras and welcome Winter. Time to drag out my nutria coat and sip a cup of solid gold! Enjoy, y'all!