Sabine Parish Sheriff Jack Blake was enjoying a Saints game on a Sunday afternoon. There were pleasant sounds coming from the kitchen. Sounds of food being prepared by people who knew what they were doing. Jack’s wife, Jennifer, was making oyster artichoke soup under the guidance of their friend, Sasha. The sheriff had been friends with Sasha’s parents when they were in college. A generation later, Sasha had befriended Jack and Jennifer’s son when they attended the same university as had their parents.
After living in New Orleans for several years, Sasha now spent most of her time in Europe. But whenever she came home to visit her family, she always made time for a day or two in Sabine Parish with the Blakes.
Now, while he waited for the soup like a Percheron after a hard day’s work, he thought about his recent conversation with Darcey Anderson. She had expressed concern about a Mr. Candy and his daughter, Lottie. They concerned her, she said, because they seemed overly friendly, especially toward Kelli.
He hadn’t mentioned the report he had received only that week regarding the disappearance of three children and their mothers. In all three instances the mothers were single parents and wealthy.He didn’t want to alarm Darcey unnecessarily. He decided to make a phone call and see if he could find a connection. But first, as the two women came out of the kitchen to place a large stock pot and three bowls on the dining table, he would enjoy Sasha’s oyster artichoke soup.
Sasha’s Oyster Artichoke Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke hearts
1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke bottoms, chopped
2 pints oysters with liquor
2 cups heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. Saute’ the shallot in the hot oil. Add the garlic and cook for only a minute or two before stirring in the Creole mustard. Mix well.
Pour in the wine. Let it simmer until reduced by about three-quarters.
Add the chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bottoms along with the oysters and their liquor.
Finish with the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer until the edges of the oysters begin to curl. Don’t over cook.
As Sasha would say, Bon Temps!