Y’all know how some people have apparitions of spiritual leaders telling them they must walk a path through the mountains to drink from a magical body of water to be healed? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. Except instead of Jesus it was my brain, and instead of a body of water, it was this pot of soup.
It was like this, see. I was relaxing in the tub, not thinking of a thing in the world (except my leftover boiled shrimp), when all of a sudden I thought to myself WHY HAS NO ONE EVER MADE SHRIMP BOIL SOUP???
Wait. Is that true? I mean, we Cajuns are some innovative folk, so somebody somewhere has probably made something like this in our nearly 300 year history. But have I ever tasted it? No. Seen it? No. Heard of it? Nope.
That’s why I felt compelled to spread the good word and share this recipe with you. It’s a bit involved, but TOTALLY worth it, ‘cause when that spice hits your lips?
Shrimp Boil Soup
- Blender (optional)
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (I prefer avocado oil for its health benefits and mild flavor, but any high heat oil will do. I use olive oil frequently, but not when I’m sauteing as it can release harmful free radicals at high heat.)
- 1 lb kielbasa, smoked, or andouille sausage, cut in ½” rounds (I often use Wellshire Farms kielbasa because it does not have added nitrates.)
- 1.5 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I usually buy whole tomatoes and slice them with a sharp knife while they’re still in the can. The more whole they are, the fresher they are when they’re canned (i.e. more flavor). But if you’ve got diced or crushed, that’ll work too.)
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1-2 cups water >>> (I'm cooking at altitude, so you may need a bit less water than I do. Start with 1 and add more if needed. Keep in mind that you'll be adding milk later, and that will increase your meat & veggie to broth ratio.)
- 1 tsp Zatarain's liquid crab boil (While I do think that this teaspoon adds a ton of flavor, if you don’t have it and can’t wait to get it on Amazon, you can just increase the amount of Cajun seasoning (next step). But do so just a little at a time so you don’t over spice the dish.)
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I like the spice blend in Slap Ya Mama. Don't worry, the story behind the name is not as offensive as it sounds.)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/2-1 tsp sea salt (or 1/2 regular salt)
- 4-6 red potatoes (About 2 heaping cups of 1” cubes. Note: It’s worth measuring this out…otherwise your family will be trawling for shrimp and sausage and you’ll be left with potato soup, albeit a really flavorful one.)
- 8 halves corn on the cob
- 1 lb defrosted & peeled shrimp (If you’re not in Louisiana and can't find good shrimp (e.g. if you live in BOISE, IDAHO), consider getting your seafood from cajungrocer.com. It’s not cheap to have them shipped, but totally worth it if you find your shrimp taste like anything other than sweet deliciousness.)
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (Totally optional, but my cooking style is to add “superfoods” to as many dishes as I can. My son inhaled his entire bowl and had no idea there was spinach in there. Total win.)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup whole milk (I used whole milk because that’s what I had in my fridge. If you need a dairy free option, coconut milk would work great, but you have to be ok with a little coconutty flavor…I think it pairs really well with shrimp and use it often in my cooking as it’s a healthy alternative to dairy. If you choose this option, get the canned version with no added sugar, and make sure you put a nice mix of both the fat and the water into the pot, as the good stuff usually separates in the can. Whatever you do, just choose one of the options above. You need to cut the acid from the tomatoes to make the dish delish, trust me!)
- pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a cast iron skillet; turn the heat to medium high. When the oil is nice and hot, add your sausage and brown for 7 or so minutes on each side. Don’t be afraid to get it nice and brown and crispy! When you are done browning, transfer the sausage to a plate for later. Sneak a couple of pieces of that deliciousness but control yourself or your ratios will be off ;).
- With the oil left in the skillet, add your chopped onion and saute for about 10 minutes until the onions start to brown (you can turn the heat down if you need to, but not too much because you want that browning to happen). After about 10 minutes or so, add celery and garlic and saute for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium if you haven’t already.
- Now it’s time for the tomato paste. Add that into your vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes, until it’s well blended and has had some time to catch that heat.
- Stir in tomatoes & white wine. You’re now making a white wine reduction! Simmer (and stir) on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, until a bit of the liquid burns off.
- Now, this step is optional, but highly recommended, especially if you have a blender. Place 2 cups of broth in the blender with the entirety of your sauteed vegetable mixture. Blend for about 5 seconds on the lowest setting to start, then gradually turn up the speed to medium and blend for another 30 seconds. (Note 1: If you have an immersion blender, you can use that instead of transferring everything to your stand-up blender. I find them not as effective so I don’t bother with them, but they sure do make the clean-up process easier. Note 2: If you do not have either kind of blender, just add all your liquid (listed in step 6) to the pot now and triple the time you boil in step 8 (test your vegetables to make sure they’re not crunchy. If they are, boil a bit longer).
- Once your sauteed vegetables are well blended, add the entire mixture to a large pot with 2 remaining cups of broth + 1-2 cups of water (I'm cooking at altitude, so you may need a bit less water than I do. Start with 1 and add more if needed. Keep in mind that you'll be adding milk later, and that will increase your meat & veggie to broth ratio, so go slowly). Turn the heat to medium and get a nice low boil going.
- When the liquid is lightly bubbling, add crab boil, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf & salt.
- Boil for 5-10 min.
- Add sausage and red potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Add corn and boil for another 7. Add shrimp and spinach and boil for another 5.
- When shrimp are done, turn off the heat and stir in olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Add milk/canned coconut milk and stir one more time. Taste and add more salt/cayenne pepper as you see fit.
- Cover the pot and let the soup sit for 10 minutes to let all of the flavors marinate.
- Sour cream (my son added a dollop to cool his down and it tasted amazing)
- Hot sauce
- Toasted french or sourdough bread for dipping