Crab Bisque

  • 2 lb. crab (in the shell, scrubbed)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 ribs of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves pressed garlic
  • 16 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 cup cognac, white wine, or sake
  • 2 cups soy milk or cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the crab into chunks with kitchen shears.

Heat the oil and melt the butter in a pot (at least 5 quart). Add the onion, celery and carrot, and sautee for five minutes. Add everything else except the soy milk or cream, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain through a colander into a bowl to get rid of the large bits (toss them out). Then strain into a second, clean pot through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to get rid of the small bits (throw them out as well). This second part may take rather a while, but the bisque is best if it’s perfectly smooth.

Add the soy milk and pepper, and heat through. Season with salt to taste (it shouldn’t take much at all).

If you wish you may add cooked crab meat to the bisque just before serving.

You may use light or heavy cream in place of the soy milk if you so desire. But we’ve found that not only does the soy milk work just fine, but it adds a nice sort of flavor to the soup that heavy cream doesn’t. Certainly if you’re watching your fat intake, the soy milk works better than the cream.

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