This hearty dish defines the fall season in Acadiana for me and represents the best of rural farm-to-table sourcing. Combining the sweet tail meat of crawfish and fresh seasonal corn cut from the cob, it is certainly a winning combination. But, when you introduce pumpkin along with curry powder and cane molasses, it takes on an even more pronounced fall flavor. Sweet, spicy and warming on a cool and crisp autumn day.
A few years ago, Jeremy Langlois, at the time, head chef at Latil’s Landing Restaurant at Houmas House Plantation, created a spectacular recipe that has become one of my favorite seasonal offerings – Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish and Corn.
When Chef Jeremy set out to make this dish he gave it a West Indies flair, and I presume this soup would be right at home in a Caribbean kitchen. He is perfectly aligned in adapting this dish to our Creole taste buds with the African-influenced island spices we have embraced here in South Louisiana. This great dish is just one reason Chef Jeremy was invited to cook at the James Beard House.
I have adapted this dish with a few tweaks here and there. For instance, I’ve replaced cane syrup with dark sugarcane molasses for a richer taste. I urge you to make more of this than you will need since it will go fast. In fact, I have scaled the original recipe up, doubling the amount of crawfish.
As a starter, I like to put this soup out hours before dinner is served with cup portions available when guests arrive. The comforting smiles on the faces of your friends and family will signal the season is finally here.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1⁄2 cup minced garlic
- 1 cup white all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugarcane molasses, such as Steen’s
- ¼ cup yellow curry powder, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 3 quarts crawfish or shrimp stock, plus more if needed
- 1 (14 ounce) can of unsweetened pumpkin pulp
- 3 cups fresh yellow corn kernels
- 2 pounds peeled Louisiana crawfish tails
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, green and red bell pepper, and celery. Cook just until translucent and then add the garlic. Lower the heat to medium and add the flour and stir the mixture for 5 minutes as you cook the flour taste out and form a blond roux.
- Stir in the molasses and curry powder as well as the turmeric to achieve the golden yellow color of this dish. Add the crawfish stock, pumpkin and the corn. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- Add the Louisiana crawfish tails and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine. Taste the bisque and season with salt and pepper. Add more curry if needed to achieve the pronounced flavor you desire.
- At this point, you can turn off the heat and hold for serving later. Just before serving bring it back to a simmer, stir the bisque and check for thickness. If it is too thick then add a little more of the stock to thin it to your desired consistency. Serve with crusty French bread.
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