Cream of Mirliton and Shrimp Soup

Cream of Mirliton and Shrimp Soup

This creamy mirliton and shrimp soup is a holiday classic.

Cream of Mirliton and Shrimp Soup
Serves 10
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  1. 8 mirlitons*, halved
  2. ¼ cup Louisiana pecan oil
  3. ½ cup butter
  4. 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  5. 1 cup chopped celery
  6. 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
  7. 1 pound small Louisiana shrimp, peeled and deveined
  8. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. ½ teaspoon salt
  12. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  13. ½ teaspoon dried basil
  14. 2 tablespoons quick-mixing flour, such as Wondra
  15. 2 quarts chicken broth
  16. 1 cup half-and-half
  1. To a large pot, add mirlitons and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer mirlitons to a colander, and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  2. Remove and discard seeds and fibrous membranes from mirlitons, and scoop out as much flesh as possible. Place flesh in a large bowl, and mash until smooth.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat pecan oil and butter over low heat until melted. Add onion, celery, and mirliton; cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and shrimp; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in peppers, salt, ginger, and basil. Add flour, stirring well.
  4. Stir in broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and add half-and-half. Serve immediately.
  1. *Mirliton is labeled as chayote in some supermarkets
Louisiana Cookin


  1. I used the black, white, and cayenne peppers. The soup is spicy. If you prefer less spice, you may want to add the pepper(s) after the half and half or just eliminate one.

  2. This was pretty good – I am from New Orleans and I am used to making stuffed mirlitons and this was very similar minus the breading/carbs. I didn’t mash my mirlitons thoroughly but left many in a small dice.I added extra spices and it was really delicious. I wish this squash wasn’t so hard to find or so expensive. I remember my grandma grew them on a vine in her backyard so we always had them.
    We always ate the boiled seeds when momma cut them up for the casserole.
    I was wondering if some small diced potatoes and or carrots might work in t his dish to give it some heartiness. Anyway it was indeed delicious! Thanks.

    • Have you tried shrimp and milliton casserole? I’m from the Westbank and it’s always a favorite. Add a little turkey gravy on top and it’s heaven.

    • I grew up in New Orleans also. We had a vine over an old water pipe in the ground. I guess it fertilizes the vine because we’d have to mirliton cooking sessions for DAYS! We even gave some away. After we moved from there, my Dad never could grow a decent vine again. Lol

      • I have them growing in my yard took over the whole backyard I had so many I’ve been trying to cook all kinds of things we just cut them down and all ready start and grow back

  3. Mirlitons, are usually priced at three or four for $1.00 around the peak of their season, December through March. If you cannot find mirliton, Try a different member of the ‘squash’ family. Squash is very versatile.

  4. Mirlitons are seasonal but I buy when plentiful, boil, peel and freeze them until needed. I make a merliton casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For this dish I boil them in a little crab boil. Great taste.

    • You could freeze this, but here’s why we wouldn’t recommend it: after defrosting, the texture of the shrimp will not be quite as good, and the half-and-half may have an off-texture.

      • Couldn’t you freeze it without the shrimp and half-and-half and just add that in when you heat it? It was delicious!! I added some Tony Chachere’s to it. I’m going to try adding a little crab boil next time like another person suggested. It was a big hit with my family! Thanks!!

          • I am from south Louisiana and I really want to try this. My thoughts are that adding the shrimp later in the preparation might work well. I don’t like to cook shrimp too long they can be overcooked very easily. What I was thinking on doing was fix it as directed, except add seafood base (broth) instead of chicken. Then saute the shrimp in a little butter separately, before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. I think the flavours would blend well.

      • I grew up in New Orleans also. We had a vine over an old water pipe in the ground. I guess it fertilizes the vine because we’d have to mirliton cooking sessions for DAYS! We even gave some away. After we moved from there, my Dad never could grow a decent vine again. Lol

    • Crabmeat would probably be a better substitute than the sausage here. You could use a mix of leg meat and lump (or you could add some jumbo lump at the end if you want to be fancy!)

  5. I’ve made this recipe year after year and everyone always loves it! I’m from New Orleans and we love this! Thanks for this great recipe.

  6. I am from the south now live in MO. Hard to find Chayote here but make due with traveling to larger city. Question is 8 whole mirlitons halved or eight halves?

  7. I made this soup for Thanksgiving! Is was delicious. I also added crackers and used canola oil instead of pecan oil. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  8. Big, big hit with whole family!

    Some kids found it a bit « hot » with all peppers but loved it anyway.
    They said it isn’t spicy but hot. Burnt in the mouth is different…

    Since I am from Canada, I could’t find any « Wondra quick-mixing flour » so I used instead « Robin Hood easy blend flour » which is the same thing.

    This recipe is a « do it again » !!

    • You can freeze it, but the texture of the shrimp and half-and-half may not be as good. You could also freeze it without those ingredients and add them in when reheating.

  9. Mirlitons on sale right now 8 fot $1!!! So I tripled the recipe!!!! So delicious. I won’t add the cream until I serve. A lot being put in the freezer!

  10. I made this soup and was somewhat disappointed on the lack of flavor except that coming from the cayenne pepper. So I added Italian seasoning which perked it up, and I added Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base for more of a seafood flavor with the 2 quarts of chicken broth.
    Next time I will do 1:1 lobster broth and chicken broth to give more of a seafood flavor with the neutral mirliton. I might even add some ham pieces since mirlitons are often stuffed with both for more flavor.

    • Same at Winn Dixie! I was dubious when I saw the sign and even asked the produce clerk if the price was correct. I GRABBED 16!!

  11. I have some shrimp stock in my freezer that I think I will use. I have a question about adding raw flour into the soup. Does this really work or would it be better to cook with the oil/butter first, like a roux?

  12. My brother shared this recipe with our family. We bought Miriltons this week 10 for $1….amazing. So I bought 30. I cooked 15 tonight and doubled the recipe. It is almost finished and so tasty already. Now here’s the jewel I added an extra pound of shrimp…why? cause I’m from NOLA and you need at least one shrimp in every bite. Also cut back the Chicken stock to keep it thicker. My brother told me use an immersion blended to make this soup really creamy which I did but I save 6 of the Mirilton shells to chop up and add for texture. Not here is the second jewel I ended up with 16 mirilton shells that I”m now stuffing with and Italian Rice dressing so I have yet another meal from this amazing recipe. Thanks so much!!! Happy Holidays!

  13. I live in East Tennessee now. Mirilton are over a dollar EACH! We used to grow them in New Orleans! Our yard was covered in them. It cost me about $20 to make a good shrimp and Mirilton now.

    • It’s Thanksgiving here in NOLA and just picked up 10=1$ @rouses Thanxgiving sale !
      I just finished this and I’m a ‘seasoned bucktonian’ and this recipe is Fantastic the seasoning combo with the half and half will get a couple of dozen fresh Gulf of Mexico oysters
      Should be dynamic!

  14. So yummy! I halved the recipe for 2 people, but will definitely cook the whole recipe with extra shrimp next time. There was very little left over. This is a definite make again recipe. I may add some crab meat next time. Thanks so much for posting it


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