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Crab Bisque

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I need a Crab Bisque fix ala RTS. This is a basic recipe that I have for one version. My thought way to make the bisque and then dump extra crab in it before serving. One concern is a lack of fish taste. I wonder if I add a bit of fish sauce or clam juice instead of chicken broth if that would improve the outcome? The other concern is that the crab would be tasteless after cooking for 30 minutes? Any idea how that rich red color comes from? Maybe a bit of tomato paste?

2 tb Butter

1 tb Onion, finely chopped

1 tb Parsley, finely chopped

1 cup Crabmeat, chopped

2 tb Flour

2 cups Chicken broth

2 cups Cream, light

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt & Pepper


1) In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook slowly until golden.

2) Add the crabmeat and parsley and cook over low heat stirring constantly (about 4 minutes).

3) Add the flour, stir to blend and cook for 3 minutes more.

4) Stir in the chicken broth and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

5) Add the cream and cayenne pepper. Heat & add salt to taste.

6) Add additional Crab and a shot a Dry Sherry before serving

Makes 2-3 cups.

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For starters, you need to use a stock made from crab or lobster shells. A good alternative, however, is to use a shrimp stock. Go to epicurious.com and search "Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque." (I still don't know how to do links. <_< )I wasn't too thrilled with the soup itself, but that recipe for shrimp stock is AWESOME. I don't ever throw away shrimp shells anymore; I freeze them in a plastic bag until needed. In fact, I use that recipe to make stock to use when making BBQ'd Shrimp and Grits. I'll bet you will get a much better bisque using this than the chicken stock, no matter how good the chicken stock may be.

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I think your bisque is going to be very light, maybe even "thin." I'm partial to heavy, particularly fattening chowders, gumbos and soups. I also believe that you should make every stock from scratch-your soup is only going to be as good as the stock you make. The best crab soup I've had in a restaurant was the cream of crab at Steamboat Landing in Galesville, MD in the early 1980's. (Different owners today.) The recipe was published in Southern Living and incorporated flour and butter, lump crab meat, pasteurized heavy cream (NOT ultra pasteurized), sherry and worcestershire. Suicide Bridge has an outstanding cream of crab that I really like also. Waterman's in Rock Hall and the Narrows also have exemplery cream of crab soups. Both Emeril's (New New Orleans Cooking) and Jasper White have outstanding cream of crab soups with the latter a rather unique spin on the traditional which incorporates freshly shucked sweet corn, plum tomatoes (for lump taste-not for color), heavy cream, Yukom Gold potatoes, Old Bay, fresh thyme, fresh crab stock, salt pork, unsalted butter, onion, celery, corn starch and Tabasco. It's a lengthy recipe and can be found in his "Fifty Chowders" cookbook. (This is an absolutely outstanding cookbook for soup/chowder, etc.) I'd put this up against any crab soup that can be made at home.

Bob Kinkead has some particularly good soup/chowder recipes in his fairly recent cookbook, too. He also has some OUTSTANDING soups and chowders in his restaurant. All of these involve making your own stock. It's time consuming and, when you get into making fish stock or fume you're going to have to feel comfortable with using fresh fish heads and frames. My wife threatens to leave the house when I make these!! But whether fish stock, crab stock, shrimp, lobster, etc. the result is incredible and well worth the expense and effort. And, yes, I said expense. It's cheaper to buy stuff from a can or "clam juice" (God, I hate clam juice-might as well use water!). But for someone who is serious about making the best that can be had you'll make your own stocks.

I've been particularly obsessed with cream of crab soup in one version or another for 30 years or more.

Edited by Joe H
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