Chef John Besh's Cauliflower and Belle River Crawfish Soup Recipe

Louisiana crawfish is the star of this creamy soup.

During spring in Louisiana, cooks around the state are focused on one ingredient: crawfish. From crawfish boils to étouffée, crawfish are served up all kinds of ways. Here’s a recipe for a crawfish soup, courtesy of the WYES show “Chef John Besh’s New Orleans.”

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a head of cauliflower, cored and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups basic chicken stock 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper 
  • 1/2 pound crawfish tail meat
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Method of preparation: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over moderate heat. Add cauliflower, onions, leeks, bay leaf, potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the cauliflower softens slightly and the onions are translucent, about 20 minutes. 
  2. Add chicken stock, cream, red pepper flakes and thyme to the pot. Increase heat to high; bring soup to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until potatoes are fully cooked, 15–20 minutes. 
  4. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.
  5. 
Puree the soup in a blender and strain through a fine sieve. (Depending upon the size of both the cauliflower and potato, you may need to add more stock. The consistency will become obvious after you puree the soup. You don’t need to add more cream; just a touch more stock.) 
  6. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Return to the pot, cover, and keep warm. 

  7. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the crawfish tails and sauté for a minute, then add chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  8. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, add crawfish tails and sprinkle with chives.