In honor of creating new traditions, I decided to take a rich, decadent recipe that is high in nutrients and make it WildFit friendly. This soup is a great appetizer for fancy dinner parties, and a nice main course on cold winter nights- or any night for that matter! You can also make it a weekday evening dish by using MSC certified canned crab rather than fresh blue crab. Although it contains no dairy, it is still very buttery, creamy and flavorful so WildFitters and friends alike will be impressed with this secretly healthy dish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 25 minutes.
Make: 4-6 servings.
2 large shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 pound of squash (2 cups), peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of allspice
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
1 pound (2 cups) crab meat and juice
6 cups of fish stock
1 Tablespoon of fresh cilantro ancho, chopped, or 1 tsp dried (can substitute for summer savoury if preferred)
1 cup full fat coconut milk (optional)
Parsley for garnish
Food processor or small blender
You have options here in how much effort you would like to put into creating this soup. You may choose to make your own seafood broth using the crab shells, or simply buy a tetra pack or use bullion cubes. You may choose to find fresh crab, or use canned. It is really a matter of time and your comfort in the kitchen. Personally I prefer to buy fresh crab, but have them cracked and the meat extracted before I take them home. I then use a homemade fishbone and head broth if I have time to prepare it, or a box if I am in a pinch. The issue with many boxed broths is that they do not take the time or use the quality of ingredients necessary to get the flavor of something you would make at home and so they add flavor enhancers and yeast (MSG) to make up the difference.
Depending on your food categories and season, you may wish to use an organic vegetable stock in place of fish stock, and rely on the crab juice to provide more seafood flavor.
Begin by washing and chopping the shallots, garlic, celery, squash, cilantro and parsley. They do not need to be in small pieces, as you will be pureeing the soup in the end, but smaller pieces cook faster. The squash should be in 1 inch cubes for best results. I used ayama, a Dominican squash in the original recipe, however any orange winter squash will do. If you are in Deep Spring you can substitute zucchini or cauliflower, however then the soup will have a much lighter color.
Next, chop the crab meat finely, reserving the juices for the soup, and set aside. I used blue crab in my original recipe and it had a wonderful flavor. Crab is high in many minerals including selenium and zinc which makes it a great immune booster. It also has high levels of vitamin B12, B2, vitamin A, and omega 3s to support overall health of your tissues. Just be mindful, as when purchasing any seafood, to buy according to seafoodwatch.org so you are choosing sustainable sources. At the time of writing, blue crab, red and gold king crab, and snow crab from the North East Pacific (Alaska) were the best choices. As mentioned, in a pinch you can also use canned crab and no one will know the difference.
To prepare the soup, heat a large saucepan on medium heat, then add the coconut oil and allow to melt. Add the shallot pieces and cook stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spices and stir continually for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in garlic and celery pieces, stirring for another 5 minutes.
Next, add squash pieces, broth, salt (optional) and fresh cilantro. I put a Caribean twist on this french soup in using cilantro ancho, a broad leaf that is used in place of bay leaves in many dishes. If it is not available or you do not enjoy the flavour. Substitute it with 1 tsp of either summer savory or thyme, and add a bay leaf if you wish. Just be sure to fish it out before blending the soup.
Bring soup to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat, allowing squash pieces to soften for about 15 minutes. To check, pierce one with a fork and if it breaks apart they are ready. If you blend it before this point to soup will not be as smooth or creamy.
Finally add half the crab meat and juice to the pot, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending.
Working in batches, ladle soup into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Try to make sure each batch is equal in chunks and liquid. Pour all of the soup into another bowl, stir to combine with the ladle, and then test the seasoning and adjust. The soup can be made even richer and lighter in color by adding 1 cup of coconut milk (optional) to the pot. I found I preferred the deeper flavors and colors without, but this s a good option if you want to vary the recipe.
To serve, ladle soup into shallow bowls and garnish with reserved crab meat pieces, parsley and cracked black pepper. This soup is best served hot, however if you are currently in summer you may prefer to try it cold. If using fresh seafood, you will want to keep the leftovers no longer than 3 days in the fridge. Enjoy!