3 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
2 medium-size canned
or home-made pickled jalapeno chiles (en escabeche), seeded
and chopped (about 3 tablespoons chopped)
1/4 cup chopped
1/4 scant cup capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
(8 medium) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 2 large
cans, drained and chopped
Salt (1 to 2 teaspoons) to taste
1 1/2 pounds
(5 to 6 medium) waxy potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound winter squash or pumpkin,
peeled and diced (about 2 cups diced)
2 sprigs cilantro,
plus 1/2 cup chopped, for garnish
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 sprig fresh mint
2 quarts water
3 limes, cut into wedges, for serving
Buy fresh crab that has already been cooked, shelled and cleaned. Keep refrigerated
while you prepare the soup base.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottom soup pot or Dutch
oven and add the onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the
garlic begins to color.
Add the tomatoes and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for about
15 minutes, until the tomatoes are somewhat cooked down and the mixture smells
Add the potatoes, the winter squash, chiles, olives, capers, sprigs of cilantro
and mint, the oregano and the bay leaves, and stir together for 5 minutes. Add
the water and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.
Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender and the
broth tastes marvelous.
Adjust salt and garlic. Remove from the heat if not serving right away.
Five minutes before serving, heat the soup to just below a simmer and stir
in the crab.
Heat through, stirring and being careful not to let the soup boil or the
crabmeat, which is already cooked, will become too rubbery. Just before serving,
stir in the chopped cilantro, and serve, with lime wedges on the side.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
You can make the same soup using fish instead of crabmeat. Use white-fleshed
fillets such as snapper, mahi-mahi, and halibut. Cut into 2-inch pieces and
add to the simmering soup 10 minutes before serving.
Advance preparation: The entire soup, up to the adding of the crabmeat, can be
done a day ahead of time and held in the refrigerator.