Crawfish Vichyssoise with Lemon Poached Leeks and French Bread Croutons

Total Time:
22 hr 8 min
40 min
21 hr 28 min

6 cups, for 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 pound live crawfish, or 1 pound shrimp shells and 1/2 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup liquid crab and shrimp boil (recommended: Zatarain's)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 3 lemons, peels and white pith removed (peel from 1/2 lemon reserved for the Lemon Poached Leeks, recipe follows)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pound leeks, rinsed well and trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Lemon Poached Leeks:
  • 1 large leek, well rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 cups strained crawfish stock, shrimp stock, or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Peel from 1/2 lemon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • French Bread Croutons:
  • 1 (12-inch) long loaf French or Italian bread, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To purge live crawfish:
  • Put the crawfish in a large container filled with salted water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold running water until the water runs clear.

  • To make the crawfish stock:

  • Combine the 3 quarts of water, salt, crab and shrimp boil, onions, celery, lemons, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a heavy 8-quart stockpot. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the purged crawfish in a basket and cook until they turn bright red, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the crawfish to a baking sheet and spread evenly to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the crawfish, reserving the tails and discarding the shells. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. (Alternately, if live crawfish are not available, add 1 pound of shrimp shells to the boiling liquid. Boil for 30 minutes to make a rich shrimp stock. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the shells.)

  • Trim the leeks, discarding the green tops. Cut the white parts crosswise into 1/2-inch slices and put them in a bowl of ice water to soak for 5 minutes. Drain, then place in a fresh bowl of ice water and soak again for 5 minutes. Drain well.

  • Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 quart of the strained stock and the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and puree the mixture until smooth with a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

  • Scald the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and add to the pureed soup, stirring well with a large wooden spoon. Chill the soup completely before serving.

  • For the Lemon Poached Leeks:

  • Trim the leeks, discarding the green tops. Cut into thin strips and place in a bowl of ice water. Soak for 5 minutes to remove any grit, then drain. Place in a clean bowl of ice water and soak again for 5 minutes. Drain well.

  • Combine the crawfish stock, wine, lemon peel, bay leaves, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the leeks and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the leeks sit in the poaching liquid for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Drain in a fine mesh strainer. Discard the bay leaves and reserve the poaching liquid as desired for another use. Set the leeks aside until ready to serve.

  • For the French Bread Croutons:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Place the bread on a baking sheet and brush 1 side of each slice with the olive oil, then lightly season with the salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

  • Serve the croutons to accompany dips or soups.

  • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and arrange 8 to 12 chilled, cooked crawfish tails around the edge of the soup. (Alternately, if using frozen tails with shrimp stock, see directions in the headnote, above.) Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the Lemon Poached Leeks in the center of the bowl, and serve with the croutons.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
Loading review filters...

    Not what you're looking for? Try:

    Vichyssoise with Sour Cream and Chives

    Recipe courtesy of Robin Miller