Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque

1 whole cooked Dungeness crab
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup beef stock

3 - 4 T butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup basmati rice
1/2 t minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 t minced fresh tarragon, or 1/2 t dried
1 t sweet or hot paprika
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Clean the crab. Chop the meat and set it aside. Put the shells in a large pot with the water, wine and beef stock. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. You need 6 cups of broth. If you have more, simmer it over medium-high heat until it is reduced to 6 cups. If you have less, add water to make 6 cups.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the 6 cups of stock. Add the tomatoes, the rice, the garlic and the herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

Move the bisque from the stove and remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return the bisque to the heat. Stir in the reserved crab meat, the sherry and the cream. Heat the bisque through over low heat. Thin, if necessary, with water. Remove from the heat and season with drops of fresh lemon juice to taste. Adjust the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and ground cayenne pepper to taste. Serve with extra sherry and chopped parsley or tarragon.

Makes 4 to 8 servings.


When making the stock, be sure to discard the row, intestines and lungs. The leg and claw shells of the crab will yield the most flavor. If you do not have an immersion blender you can process the bisque in a regular stand blender in small batches.

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