2 Maryland Cream of Crab Soup

Friday, November 18, 2011


There is [almost] nothing else that makes my heart go pitter-patter more than Maryland blue crabs - and especially in cream of crab soup.  They are just slightly out of season now, but the weather's gotten to that point where you want a nice warm soup bubbling away on top of your stove.  This recipe has been in my family for four generations.  There are only a few ingredients, but they are all non-negotiable.  You have to have them all, or you can't come crying back to me saying that it wasn't amazing.  And trust me, it is.

You'll need:
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup strong chicken stock (1 cup stock + 2 bouillon cubes or equivalent)
1 quart rich milk (equal parts heavy cream and whole milk)
1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried
1/2 heaping teaspoon celery salt
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground mace
Dash of red ground pepper or flakes
Pepper and salt to taste
1 pound backfin/lump crab meat (picked over of all shell)
1/3 cup Harvey Bristol Cream sherry (use only REAL cream sherry, never cooking sherry)
flour to thicken

In a pot over medium heat, start by sauteeing the onion in the butter until it is just translucent.  We do not want browning in any way, shape or form here. 


Add chicken stock and slowly pour in milk.


Add all seasonings except sherry. Now, when I was making this the other day, I was frantic because I could find every single herb, spice and spice-blend in existence except for the celery salt!  Do you know that awful feeling when you've just returned from the store to buy the one thing you knew you didn't have, and then realize you don't have the other thing you should actually have?  By the way, do you know I have two spice cupboards, plus a bunch next to my stovetop?  It's insane.  I pulled two boxes down in my search.





A-HA!  Gotcha!  It's celery seed, not salt, so I added a bit of sea salt too.  At this point I was relieved I didn't have to go run out to Publix again.


Mace:  It's not just for self defense!  It's so good - it's warm and nutty, not unlike nutmeg.  Delicious and totally makes cream of crab soup what it is.



Stir in crab meat, cleaned of all shell, and simmer 15 minutes. A word on the crab meat.  Please don't use any other kind of crab meat, or worst of all [strangled gasp]...imitation crab.  If I saw this I'd go rock in a corner. Also, you must pick it over, even if what you buy swears that it's virtually shell-free.  We always used to go down to Market Street in Baltimore to get ours, or more often the market at the Annapolis Harbor...it's that squat little building behind the trees.  I broke up with my first serious boyfriend on a bench in front of those hedges there.  Never give jewelry back, girls.


If you don't live near Maryland and can't get fresh blue crabs, I'd recommend Phillips brand.  I know my Costco sells Phillips, and that's where I picked this up, being that I currently live no where close to Maryland.


Stir in crab meat, cleaned of all shell, and simmer 15 minutes. 


Make a thin paste with about 2 TBS flour and a little water. 


Stir into soup to thicken slightly. Make sure you let it bubble while stirring for a few minutes to let the flour cook, so it doesn't have that raw flour taste.  Before serving, remove from heat and stir in sherry.  Stir carefully so that you don't break up the crab meat too much.  Let thicken as desired, and I like my soup fairly thick.  


I can hear my mother screaming now, "What?!  That's not Harvey's!"  Nope, it's not Harvey's, which she has made my dad drive out in the snow to get from Latella's package store.  I'm not a sherry connoisseur, but any good cream sherry is better than cooking sherry, and I had Sheffield on hand.  Repeat after me: "I will NEVER use cooking sherry in this recipe."


When you serve you can do as we do and leave the Harvey's out for guests to add willy-nilly.  It's the best!


You'll need:
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup strong chicken stock (1 cup stock + 2 bouillon cubes or equivalent)
1 quart rich milk (equal parts heavy cream and whole milk)
1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried
1/2 heaping teaspoon celery salt
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground mace
Dash of red ground pepper or flakes
Pepper and salt to taste
1 pound backfin/lump crab meat (picked over of all shell)
1/3 cup Harvey Bristol Cream sherry (use only this brand!)
flour to thicken


Cook onion in butter until transparent. Add chicken stock and slowly pour in milk. Add all seasonings except sherry. Stir in crab meat, cleaned of all shell, and simmer 15 minutes. Make a thin paste with about 2 TBS flour and a little water. Stir into soup to thicken slightly. Before serving, remove from heat and stir in sherry.
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2 comments:

Christina Williams said...

Oh, I was so excited to see this!!! I moved to MD a few years ago, and I LOVE it! Oh yeah, Phillip's is the best for this. I can't wait to try this recipe.

Emily @ Bentobloggy.com said...

You'll love it! Let me know how it is :) BTW, my absolute favorite places to get cream of crab and crab cakes in Maryland are the Sunset restaurant in Glen Burnie, and the other is Roy's Kwik Korner in Glen Burnie.

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