Bongo Bongo Soup

  • Serves

    serves 4

This unusual soup, a Bergeron invention, was perhaps inspired by the soup called boula boula, a puree of pea soup and turtle soup that was popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy in the early 1960s. Trader Vic's uses jarred Pacific coast oysters for this dish.


  • 1 (10-oz.) package partially thawed frozen spinach
  • 6 shucked oysters and their liquor
  • 2 tbsp. bottled clam juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. A.1. Steak Sauce
  • 12 tsp. Tabasco
  • 12 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • 12 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream, chilled


Step 1

Put spinach, oysters and their liquor, clam juice, garlic, and pepper to taste into a medium nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, breaking up spinach with the back of a spoon, and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until very smooth. Set spinach–oyster mixture aside.

Step 2

Preheat broiler. Bring half-and-half to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. Whisk in butter, then spinach–oyster purée, and return to a simmer. Add steak sauce, Tabasco, worcestershire, and salt to taste. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tbsp. water, then whisk into soup. Keep soup warm over lowest heat.

Step 3

Whisk cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Divide soup between 4 shallow heatproof soup bowls and put a big spoonful of the whipped cream on top of each. Place bowls of soup under broiler briefly to brown cream, then serve soup immediately.

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