CRAB BISQUE



Crab Bisque image

Provided by Paul Grimes

Categories     Soup/Stew     Blender     Onion     Rice     Appetizer     Christmas     Dinner     Seafood     Crab     Cognac/Armagnac     Carrot     White Wine     Winter     Thyme     Simmer     Gourmet     Sugar Conscious     Wheat/Gluten-Free     Peanut Free     Tree Nut Free     Soy Free

Yield Makes 8 (first course) servings

Number Of Ingredients 22

12 live or frozen uncooked blue crabs (3 to 3 1/2 pound), rinsed well
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
4 large thyme sprigs
1 whole clove
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy
1 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cups water
1/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Large pinch of cayenne
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, at room temperature 30 minutes, picked over
Equipment: an 8- to 10-qt pot with tight-fitting lid; a meat pounder or a rolling pin without handles
Accompaniment: crab butter (optional)

Steps:

  • If using live crabs, add to pot of boiling water using tongs. Cover pot and cook over high heat until crab shells are red, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain crabs in a colander.
  • Put crabs (cooked or frozen uncooked) into a large metal roasting pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and pound shells with meat pounder to crush (including claws).
  • Heat butter and oil in same pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic with bay leaf, thyme, clove, peppercorns, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add Cognac, wine, and crushed crabs and bring to a boil. Add broth and water and return to a boil. Skim foam, then simmer, covered, stirring and skimming occasionally, 1 hour.
  • Put colander in a large bowl, then drain crab broth, reserving solids for crab butter (if making). Transfer broth to a medium saucepan.
  • Ladle out 2 cups broth and transfer to a 1-quart saucepan. Add rice and simmer, covered, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes (not all of liquid will be absorbed).
  • Blend together rice with cooking liquid and 1 cup more crab broth in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), then add to remaining broth in medium saucepan.
  • Just before serving, reheat bisque over medium heat until hot, then stir in tarragon, lemon juice, cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  • Ladle bisque into bowls and spoon a little crabmeat into center, then drizzle with some of crab butter (if making).

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