Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren



December 2013



Serenbe Holiday Traditions and My Mother’s Seafood Soup

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

Instead of chopping down a tree, we make one out of lights with a wooden star on top and share stories about the season.

Instead of chopping down a tree, we make one out of lights with a wooden star on top and share stories about the season.

On Thanksgiving Day, we served turkey with black pepper molasses butter, cornbread dressing and chocolate pecan bourbon pie to more than 450 people at The Farmhouse.

On the Sunday night after, we did our annual tree lighting where Serenbe residents sing holiday carols and residents talk about what the season means to them.

Then the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday we hosted the Serenbe Holiday Bazaar—three days of shopping featuring artisans from all over the Southeast.

We have so many wonderful holiday traditions at Serenbe; I love the way they bring us closer as a community. And on Christmas day, I’ll be serving friends and family big bowls of my favorite holiday tradition of all: My mother’s seafood soup.

I get my love of soup from my mother; she made it a lot. But this recipe was her signature soup and she only made it at home, not Mary Mac’s, which I always call her other home. If people received invites to my mother’s parties, they’d say, “You are going to make your seafood soup, aren’t you, Margaret?”

It started as a leek and potato soup and you knew you were special if she made it for you. It was so wonderful that when my grandmother was dying she asked my mother to make it … and it was her last meal.

After that, mother dressed it up by adding scallops, shrimp and crabmeat. My Christmas Day menu changes every year, but my mother’s seafood soup is always on the menu. It brings me closer to the people who are here, and the ones who aren’t here anymore.

  • Bring to a boil in heavy Dutch Oven:
  • 5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch (about 12-ounces) well-washed fresh leeks (all but browned leaves), chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced fine
Simmer for 30 minutes and add:
  • 3 large Idaho potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced

Simmer for another 30 minutes. Mash potatoes and onion mixture in stock thoroughly with potato masher.

  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream

Taste and season. This should be thick, heavy, creamy soup.  If too thick, thin with milk and taste for seasonings.

  • 2 cups of cooked crabmeat, shrimp or scallops.

Simmer soup for 5 minutes.

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