White Squash & Shrimp Soup

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White Squash & Shrimp Soup

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"My Grandmother Grace always served a big lunch and, always, supper was usually just a good soup and sandwich. So making soup always makes me think of her. I like to make soup with our big green and white striped Southern heirloom cushaw squash, right. Its flavor is light, like summer squash—which is another great option for this soup. I serve the soup with brown shrimp from Lake Pontchartrain. Mmm, mmm, mmm!" - Chef John Besh


  • 4 tablespoons  butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 stalk  celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves  garlic, minced
  • 3 cups  peeled, diced white or other summer squash
  • 1  medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig  fresh thyme
  • 6 cups  Go-To Chicken Stock or Shrimp Stock (below)
  • 2 cups  heavy cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch allspice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound  medium wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1  green onion, chopped

Recipe Info

  1. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, celery, and garlic and cook for several minutes. Add the squash and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5–10 minutes.

  2. Add the bay leaf, thyme, stock, and cream to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 15–20 minutes. 

  3. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Strain it if you like, but I appreciate a bit of texture here. Return the soup to the pot and add the cayenne, allspice, salt, and pepper. Toss the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them with the green onions to the pot. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes more and then serve. 

Go-To Chicken Stock

  1. Making stock is not complicated. I freeze the carcasses from every chicken I roast and make stock when I have enough of them. I start by putting the carcasses in a stockpot. Often I’ll brown some chicken and/or turkey wings in the oven (about 1 pound of bones total), and throw them into the pot as well. 

  2. I then add a couple of chopped carrots and celery stalks along with a few cloves of crushed garlic and a couple of bay leaves. Then I pour in enough cool water to cover the bones by a few inches and bring to a boil. Then simply simmer for about 2 hours. Strain it all and you’re done. (And remember, in a pinch, do as so many New Orleans home cooks do: use water.)


  1. To make Fish Stock, use 1 pound fish heads and bones instead of the chicken.

  2. For Shellfish Stock, use 1 pound shells from shrimp, blue crab, crawfish, or lobster.

  3. For Shrimp Stock, use 1 pound shrimp heads and shells.

  4. For Crab Stock, use 1 pound crab shells.


“Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked Recipes” by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing.

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