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Mirliton and Shrimp Soup

“Mirliton” (pronounced as a French word) is the New Orleans name for the vegetable also known as a chayote or vegetable pear. They were much liked around town, and used in many different ways. This is one of the most interesting: a great light soup that we enjoyed at Le Parvenu until it closed. Chef Dennis Hutley–who dreamed it up–describes it as “cappuccino style.” By that he means a thin layer of non-sweet whipped cream that floats on top.

Mirliton and shrimp in the old style of Tujague’s.

  • 2 medium mirlitons
  • 2 lbs. medium whole shrimp
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbs. diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced carrots
  • 2 Tbs. diced onions
  • 1/4 cup thinly-sliced leeks
  • 1/2 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup sweet white wine (German Riesling, sweet Chenin Blanc)
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid crab boil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

1. Pare the mirlitons and peel the shrimp. Put the trimmings, shrimp shells and heads, and the bay leaf into a small saucepan with two cups of water. Bring up to a light boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep the simmer going for 20-30 minutes, during which you can do the next step.

2. Dice the mirlitons. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook and stir into a blond roux for two minutes. Add all the vegetables except the mirlitons and cook over low heat for five minutes, until all vegetables are soft.

3. Stir the shrimp and mirlitons into the vegetables. Add the wine and bring to a boil for two minutes. Strain the stock from the shrimp shells into the saucepan along with the crab boil, and stir.

4. Warm the cream and stir into the soup. Bring to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves four.

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  1. Carolyn on December 7, 2015

    Had this delicious soup at Sammy’s in New Orleans, and I’m delighted to find the recipe here. We’re about to attempt it. Thank you so much for making it available!

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