Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whiskeyed Crab Soup

Mother Humble makes this soup every year for Christmas dinner. It is one of our Humble family traditions, along with making my brother (who cooks professionally) clean and shell crabs Christmas morning. Poor guy.

This is might be a somewhat eccentric Northwest addition to a typical holiday menu, but our local dungeness crab is delicious and quite possibly the best flavored crab on the planet. Anyone who disagrees with me can 'bring it' and we shall settle it mano a mano (or crabo a crabo) in the ring of crab combat!

(Mother Humble came over and dropped this enormous lump of crab into my soup when I was taking photos. She was clearly not impressed by my soup's 'little' crab meat garnish, as seen in the first photo.
Yup, that's my mom.)

Whiskeyed Crab Soup
Chandler's recipe taken from Recipezzar
Serves 6-8

Start by cleaning and shelling 2 1/2lbs of dungeness crabs (Or force a family member to do it). Reserve and refrigerate the meat for later and get to work on the stock with the shells.

Crab Stock
1 dungeness crab, shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
2 quarts cold water
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Heat the olive oil in a heavy stockpot. Add the crab shells, carrot, onion and celery; brown lightly. Add brandy and ignite

(Burn fingers while trying to take photos of the flaming pot). When flames have expired, add the water, garlic, bay leaf, tarragon and tomato paste.

Bring stock to a low simmer for 2 to 3 hours and reduce to 1 quart. Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate until ready to use.

Whiskeyed Crab Soup
1 quart crab stock
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 lemon
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons whiskey
1 tablespoon sherry wine
2 tablespoons butter
salt, to taste

Make a roux in a heavy saucepan by melting 4 ounces (1 stick) butter over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the flour all at once. Stir constantly, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring until it is blond-colored (about 5 minutes).

Add crab stock, cup by cup, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, skim frequently. Add heavy cream, juice from the lemon, Tabasco, Worcestershire, Old Bay and white pepper. Bring back to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the whiskey, sherry, 2 tablespoons butter and the reserved crab meat; cook 1 minute to heat through. Salt to taste.

Sprinkle with a little Old Bay seasoning and serve immediately.


  1. a little honey will stop those burned fingers blistering. getting into my dingy now to sail to Dungeness in search of crabs...

  2. Sounds delicious indeed, I love shellfish soups.

  3. i've had Dungeness, but i'm rather partial to our local Maryland blues.

    especially when they've been buried in Old Bay and sea salt, and steamed in beer. oh lawdy almighty, are they good.

  4. That sounds great, I love it when people throw in Sherry at the last minute for crab soup, its the way to do it. I am going to miss that kind of thing when I move from Maryland next year...

  5. Nothing like family traditions, eh?

  6. My son is looking over my shoulder and has admired your photography...wondering what sort of camera you use?

  7. I use either a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot or a Nikon D3000 dSLR for my photographs (I'm not very good with either).

  8. My son and I disagree - we think the photography is fantastic!


Related Posts with Thumbnails