This recipe by Syrie Wongkaew, a graphic designer from New Zealand with a ‘passion for food’ is the perfect recession buster bisque, swapping lobster for crab! The kiwis refer to sweet potato commonly as kumara, thus the name of recipe. With the Australian winter coming on I am exploring the usage of Australian root veggies like sweet potato and pumpkin which are extremely versatile. This is a hearty recipe, a contemporary twist on the classic lobster bisque. The velvety roasted sweet potato and squash puree complimented the clean, sweet flavours of the steamed Australian blue swimmer crab I used, a drizzle of freshly made pesto with extra virgin olive oil lifted the dish by adding bold contrast. Although this dish presents beautifully as an appetiser, it can be served on its own as a main course, a big bowl with generous helping of crab on top is sure fire way of comforting chilly winter nights in style!
Ingredients: 1/2 large butternut squash, cut into chunks, 1 white kumara (sweet potato), peeled and thinly sliced, 1 orange kumara (sweet potato), cut into chunks, Olive oil for drizzling, Honey for drizzling, Pinch of sea salt, pepper and paprika, 1 large white onion, chopped, 1 tbs of olive oil, 1 tbs of butter, 6 cups organic chicken stock, 1.5 tsp of sea salt, 1 cup of cream, A handful of basil leaves, 1/8 cup of freshly grated parmesan, 8 pinenuts, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 kg crab, quartered
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Using a really sharp knife finely chop half the basil leaves and garlic clove together. Add the rest of the basil and pinenuts and keep chopping. Add the freshly grated parmesan and continue to chop until it's incorporated with the basil mixture. Once the pesto is really finely chopped, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil and stir well. Set aside.
Lay the squash and orange kumara out on a baking tray fleshy side up. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover with foil and cook for 1 hour or until soft. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, add the remaining olive oil and butter to a large stock pot. Add the onions and sweat for about 25 minutes on a low heat. Stir regularly to stop the onions from caramelizing. Add the white kumara and 1 tsp of salt to the pot and stir well. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Next add the chicken stock and stir. Add the pumpkin and orange kumara pieces to the pot. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the crab until done (about 10 minutes.) Remove flesh from crab and set aside.
Use a hand blender directly in the pot to blend the soup until completely smooth, to avoid having to strain and transfer back and forth. If you prefer use a food processor to do so. Re-heat the soup in the pot and add the cream and 1/2 tsp of salt. Once ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with crab meat and drizzle with pesto.