Mirliton Crab Bisque

Mirliton Crab Bisque with crab meat in a bowl with three mirlitons

Mirliton-the wrinkly green vegetable, found in family gardens and farmers markets all over South Louisiana. This versatile and unique squash is a staple of Louisiana, served many ways-pickled, casseroles and stuffed. My favorite is this wonderful Mirliton Crab Bisque. The mirliton’s mild flavor is a perfect vehicle for the succulent and rich crab meat and unique spice blend of nutmeg, allspice and cardamon. Perfect for an appetizer or the main course, served with crisp french bread and a green salad.

Mirliton Crab Bisque with crab meat in a bowl with three mirlitons
Sweet Daddy D's Mirliton Crab Bisque
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Mirliton Crab Bisque-the mirliton's mild flavor is a perfect vehicle for the succulent and rich crab meat and unique spice blend of nutmeg, allspice and cardamon in a creamy, rich bisque. Perfect for an appetizer or the main course, served with crisp french bread and a green salad.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time Calories Per Serving
8Servings 30Minutes 1Hour 30Minutes 542
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  1. Slice the mirlitons in half, lengthwise and poach in salted water for about 45 minutes until very tender when probed.
  2. Remove from the water and allow the mirlitons to cool, then remove and discard the seed and scoop out the meat with a spoon.
  3. Chop the mirliton; set aside until needed, but reserve about ¼ cup of pieces to add to the bisque at the end.
  4. Melt butter in a heavy bottom dutch oven over medium high heat until bubbly
  5. Add yellow onions and celery and saute until the onions are starting to clear-about 5 minutes.
  6. Add green onions and saute for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the flour and mix in thoroughly, stirring constantly to make a blond roux-about 3 minutes; don't let the roux brown,
  8. Mix in the creole seasoning.
  9. Add the carrots, stir to coat with the roux, then add in the mirliton and stir everything together very well.
  10. Lower heat and allow everything to simmer for about 10 minutes while the mirliton releases some of its liquid. Stir often and mash some the mirliton with your spoon while you stir.
  11. Increase the heat and add the stock and the wine.
  12. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and maintain a heavy simmer for about 20 minutes while it thicken. Stir often.
  13. Test to make sure the carrots are soft, then using an immersion blender, smooth out the bisque, making sure to get all the carrots and mirliton pieces.
  14. Add in the heavy whipping cream and stir together until it is all incorporated. Mix in about half of the spice blend and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  15. Add in the crab meat making sure not to break it up. Add the reserved mirliton pieces and carefully blend everything together well.
  16. Now that the crab meat is in, taste it again to check the seasonings. Add more of the reserved spice blend and salt if needed.
  17. Serve this in a cup as an appetizer, or in bowl as an entree. Some nice saltines or crispy french bread go well with the bisque as does a nice green salad.
Recipe Notes

Mirlitons are also called chayote or alligator pears. They will vary in size but  you want about four cups of prepared mirliton meat for this recipe.

Have some extra stock in reserve in case the bisque needs to be thinned out. Vegetable or chicken stock are an excellent substitute for seafood stock.

This recipe makes about 8 full size servings (bowls) or 12 appetizer size servings (cups)

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Daddy D's Mirliton Crab Bisque
Amount Per Serving
Calories 542 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 72%
Saturated Fat 29g 145%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 628mg 26%
Potassium 374mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 117%
Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 9%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cajun Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

Shrimp and Grits in a green bowl with parsley
Cajun Shrimp and Cheesy Grits
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Fresh shrimp, sauteed in a buttery, savory sauce of onions, peppers and garlic, with a touch of tomato paste and creole spices, ladled over creamy, cheesy grits. Heart warming goodness from the South!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Calories Per Serving
4Servings 20Minutes 20Minutes 765
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  1. Peel, de-vein and the rinse shrimp; pat dry; sprinkle on 2 tablespoons creole seasoning and set aside. Slice the onions and green peppers and chop the garlic. Measure out all other ingredients. Prepare the grits.
Prepare the Grits
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a heavy boil. Grate cheese and set aside.
  2. Add kosher salt and gradually whisk or stir grits into boiling water, stir or whisk until grits are dispersed and not lumpy.
  3. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover pot and simmer for about 15 minutes. Get started on the shrimp while these cook.
  4. Remove the lid, stir well and taste. If al dente, add the butter and Gruyere cheese. Stir vigorously to combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy. If the grits are a little hard still, leave a low fir on for another 5 minutes.
  5. Replace the cover, remove from heat and let sit until the shrimp are ready.
Prepare the Shrimp
  1. Place a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter until bubbly.
  2. Add sliced onions and peppers-sautée until soft, about 5–6 minutes
  3. Add garlic, green onions and about ¾ of the Herb and Spice Blend, mix well and continue to sauté until aromatic-about 2 minute.
  4. Increase heat to high and add the shrimp; sauté for about 2 minutes, turning over midway through.
  5. Add the tomato paste and mix it in very well while continuing to saute another 2 minutes (approximately).
  6. If needed, deglaze the pan with a little of the stock before moving on to the next step.
  7. Mix in about ½ to ¾ cup of the seafood stock (reserve the remainder), the lemon juice and the Worcestershire. When that's mixed in, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Shake the pan back and forth and continue to simmer as the butter melts and the sauce thickens slightly. Don’t over cook the shrimp, no more than about 5 minutes.
  8. Taste a few times to check if it needs more spices, remember the shrimp will soak up some spice so its OK to be a little over spiced at this stage. Add more of the reserved Herb and Spice Blend or stock, if needed.
  9. Stir the cheese grits vigorously then place a healthy spoonful in a shallow bowl or plate, spoon the shrimp over the cheese grits and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

If you are buying head-on shrimp, you'll need to buy about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds to end up with 1 pound after the shells are removed.

If you can't find seafood stock, just substitute chicken stock and it will be just fine.

Substitute Quick Grits if you want them done a little quicker! Just follow the directions on the package.

Gruyere cheese is creamy when melted and a slightly sharp. Try some sharp or mild cheddar cheese if you prefer, or no cheese at all.

I always think its best if you grate your own cheese, but if you are crunched for time, or just prefer, use some pre-grated cheese.

Many commercial creole seasonings and stocks contain salt, some have quite a bit. This recipe was developed a stock that contains salt and a creole seasoning that does not contain salt. Whatever you use, make sure you taste while cooking before adding salt so you get it the way you like it.

Nutrition Facts
Cajun Shrimp and Cheesy Grits
Amount Per Serving
Calories 765 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 69%
Saturated Fat 26g 130%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 296mg 99%
Sodium 1192mg 50%
Potassium 784mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 46g 15%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 9g
Protein 46g 92%
Vitamin A 78%
Vitamin C 138%
Calcium 78%
Iron 45%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant

 

 

 

Eggplant stuffed with shrimp on a platter
Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant
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Commonly referred to as Eggplant Pirogues-eggplant hollowed out like the ubiquitous Cajun boat (pirogue), these eggplants are stuffed full of a mixture of smothered eggplant, vegetables and shrimp in Louisiana seasonings. They're baked to a golden brown and deliver an unparalleled South Louisiana treat. This is so delicious, you'll never believe how simple it is.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time Calories Per Serving
6Servings 30Minutes 60Minutes 45Minutes 364
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    To prepare the eggplant
    1. Slice whole eggplant lengthwise. Cut a cross hatch in the eggplant with a sharp utility knife and brush some olive oil over the eggplant. (See Recipe Notes)
    2. Place the eggplant, cut side down on a baking rack and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the eggplant meat is soft.
    3. Allow to cool. Scoop out the meat, leaving about ¼ inch of the shell-resembling a little boat.
    4. Chop the scooped-out eggplant and set aside.
    Prepare the shrimp
    1. Peel, de-vein and rinse the shrimp, then pat dry with paper towels.
    2. Chop about ¾ of the shrimp into small pieces, leave the remainder whole.
    3. Mix with some creole seasoning and set aside.
    Prepare the stuffing
    1. Heat butter in a dutch oven over medium high heat until bubbly.
    2. Saute the onions, bell peppers and celery in the butter until beginning to caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    3. Add the garlic and green onions and saute until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
    4. Mix in about half of the Herb and Spice Blend and the bay leaves. Saute about 2 minutes.
    5. Add in the chopped eggplant; reduce heat to medium, cover the dutch oven and slow simmer about 10 to 15 minutes.
    6. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the stock, uncover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the eggplant is very soft and mash-able. (See Recipe Notes)
    7. Add in the shrimp, mix well and saute until the shrimp start to turn pink, simmer about 5 to 10 minutes.
    8. Stir in the breadcrumbs, starting with about half and adding more until you have the consistency of a filling.
    9. Add in the rest of the Herb and Spice Blend, mix well.
    10. Remove from heat, cover the dutch oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.
    11. Remove the lid and allow the eggplant to cool about 15 minutes before stuffing. Remove bay leaves.
    Stuff eggplant and bake
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
    2. With a spatula or wooden spoon, stuff the eggplant mixture into the eggplant halves, pushing to fill all the voids.
    3. Once all the filling has been used, sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and place 2 or 3 small tabs of butter on top of each.
    4. Place in the 350 degree oven and Bake until browning on top,
    Recipe Notes

    Use a purple (either Globe or Italian) eggplant for this recipe, and you could actually substitute zucchini with a slight change in the flavor profile.

    Slice the eggplant lengthwise through the center of the stem. With a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch in the meat. This will help get some  olive oil into the eggplant for baking.  The trick is not using too much olive oil-the eggplant will soak it up and all of a sudden you've got way too much olive oil. Just a nice little brush all over the cut side will do the trick.

    How long you'll need to smother the eggplant with the seasonings and the stock will depend on how tender the eggplant is to start. If you left it in the oven until it's very tender, it won't take long. If its a little tough or raw, it will take longer. Either way make sure to cook the eggplant until very tender before stuffing.

    Remember that most commercial creole seasonings have a high salt content, so make sure that you taste the stuffing before you add any more salt.

     

    Nutrition Facts
    Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 364 Calories from Fat 99
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 11g 17%
    Saturated Fat 6g 30%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 2g
    Cholesterol 177mg 59%
    Sodium 1578mg 66%
    Potassium 1070mg 31%
    Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
    Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
    Sugars 12g
    Protein 28g 56%
    Vitamin A 19%
    Vitamin C 46%
    Calcium 15%
    Iron 26%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.