History in a Bowl

I remember the first time I had the South Carolina-style she-crab soup.

It was during a dinner I had with Rick Erwin.  We were discussing the regional cuisine and the possibilities within his restaurant group.

He told me I had to try a signature dish.  I’m not a soup guy, but to borrow from Jerry Seinfeld in his famed Soup Nazi episode, it was so good that my knees buckled. She-crab soup might just be this states most overworked culinary icon. But an expertly made She-Crab is a rare pleasure at home, and should be a part of every cook’s repertoire.

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To help get crab meat out of crab legs use a clean scissors, cutting between the jointed areas.

Some of the ingredients are bit difficult to find, but substitutions are listed. Crab roe can be used to garnish each soup if available.

Carolina She-Crab Soup

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound lump crab meat divided

1 large onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups crab stock (you can substitute fish stock or chicken stock)

2 cups milk

11/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 cup dry sherry

salt & pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

squeeze lemon juice

1 dash hot sauce

Oyster crackers, enough to garnish

Melt butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and bay leaf. Cover, sweat 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour in and stir to coat.

Whisk in the crab stock until there are no lumps. Add milk, cream, paprika, two tablespoons of dry sherry, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, white wine and lemon. Stir consistently.

Blend mixture with a puree wand, or in batches in a blender.

Add half of the crab meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, stirring so it doesn’t burn.

-Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring often until soup reaches desired thickness. Place remaining crab meat and sherry in four bowls. Ladle the soup over the sherry and crab meat. Garnish with chives and oyster crackers.

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