Maryland Crab SoupErik.f.Dowell[B]Spicy Maryland Crab Soup[/B]
Soup needs love..it doesn’t take rocket science to make a soup, but to make a GOOD soup…it takes a little TLC. I loveeeeee soup.. and love to make soup, a good soup will please the soul!! Here is an homage to my love for soup making and some steps i took to strategically make a Maryland style, spicy-crab soup. I literally worked on this soup for 4 hours.
Before we start the breakdown of this soup… I had crabs for dinner and I brought home about a dozen that were left over… Also, about half way through picking the crabs, I stopped cracking open and eating the claws and was saving them to take home-already thinking about making crab soup in the future with the leftovers. So, I had a ton of claws and about a dozen crabs. Ive made crab soup before many times with leftover crabs and despite how much you think it would make sense… WASH the crabs completely off, so that no seasoning is left on them. I didnt do that the first time I made it and figured, the seasonings would just make it more flavorful…but it just makes it way to salty…
After washing the crabs off, take all of the tiny little legs and back fin legs and tare them off the body and reserve for the stock…when eating crabs, I will tip open the tiny legs to get some meat out, but after a day and you deal with it…the meat in the tiny legs arent worth picking and will just enhance the flavor of the stock. Also, the crab claws are worth picking! so, crack them open, remove the meat and keep the shells for the stock. By the end of this process you will have an abundance of crab shells, a good start of crab meat and then the whole intact bodies of the crabs..
OKAY! First! -For a good soup, you need a GREAT stock. Take what you have! If your making beef soup, trim the beef and use the trimmings to make a stock or chicken, use chicken bones to make a stock. For this, take excess crab shells and make a stock.. Take as many crab shells as you can, a standard mirepox-onions, carrots and celery, and some olive oil/butter and brown the veggies until translucent. Add water and boil and reduce!! -Add a little salt to enhance flavor. After letting it reduce down for quite a while, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth… I had a not so fine strainer, so I had to strain it a half dozen times to get all the shells and veggies out. Since this is strained, there is no need to pay close attention to how you chop the veggies-no brunoise or fine dice here, just chop them so they can fit in the pot. Put the veggies in first with the oil/butter to brown off, and then add the shells after that…sear as much as you can to bring out flavor without burning and add water to it.
Now that the stock is ready, get ready to get down. For this, have your items in place- mise en place. I like to add: Corn, Lima Beans, Fresh Green Beans, Parsley, Carrots, Celery, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Chopped Tomato’s. Also, have tomato paste, tomato sauce and I usually keep a back up of stock just in case I need to add it to help the flavor become bolder or to thin out if it becomes too thick.
Now, in a large pot, take onion (fine dice), carrots ( I usually just thinly slice them and leave round, but to show off knife skills, take your pick of large dice or battonet) and thinly sliced celery. I try to cut the celery and onions as thin and fine as I can, so they almost blend in to the soup. I brown these off until translucent…as much as I can and not burning.. Then add tomato paste, a spoonful or two.. this gives it a deep rich rustic color. Stir and add your stock! While you are getting this soup started, I blanch my fresh green beans because they stay pretty firm. After I add the stock, I add in the rest of the vegetables and some tomato sauce. Since its a soup, you dont want it to be too thick… so keep an eye on how much tomato sauce you add.. Bring to a boil.
Once it has boiled, reduce to a simmer and season to taste. Taste, adjust. Taste, adjust. Taste, adjust. Taste, adjust. get a friend to taste…evaluate their opinion.. and continue to taste, adjust. I used- Old Bay seasoning, paprika, cayenne, coriander, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder. Then, add the crab meat. Bring back up to a boil for a min. and settle it back down. Let it sit on low heat for a while, THE LONGER IT SITS, THE MORE FLAVOR DEVELOPS.
When you see the crab meat start to turn darker in color…you know the soup has really developed that crab flavor.
DONT REFRIGERATE UNTIL FULLY COOLED DOWN AT ROOM TEMP!!
Now, you should have a flavorful soup!
I eye balled the amounts of ingredients used..as in the amount of carrots, onions, celery, green beans, lima beans…mess around with it until you get a feel for it!
Hope this is useful and interesting to ya and helps you in the future!3 stars