Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rosie Makes Crab Bisque.


We recently picked up a dozen crabs at Billy's Seafood.
(Yes.  This was pre-Sandy.)
Mr. Hawthorne made crab cakes with his half.
I'm making crab bisque with my half.

A bisque, traditionally, is a thickened shellfish soup,
flavored by the shell.
 Crab is my shellfish
and shrimp stock is my flavoring.

Rosie's Crab Bisque

2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB oil
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 mild red cayenne pepper, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 QT shrimp stock, heated
6 - 8 ounces heavy cream or whipping cream
sherry, to taste
I start with 2-3 TB sherry and taste my way along.
1 lb crab meat
Taste test.
I like to season with freshly ground pepper,
and have found it doesn't need any salt.
But your tastes may vary.

Sprinkle chopped scallions over top.

I like to make my own stocks and freeze them.
 We go through a lot of shrimp
and I don't like to waste any part of what we eat.
Depending on what time of the year it is,
shrimp shells either go to chum up the water
or into the freezer so I can make stock later.

  •  In a large stock pot over medium heat, drizzle with oil and let butter melt, swirling the pan.
  • Add in minced onion, carrot, celery, and cayenne. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring.
  • Sprinkle in flour and cook for about 2 minutes, scraping and stirring to cook the raw out of the flour.  With the flour and the oil and butter cooking, you now have what is known as a roux, the base of many a dish.  The roux is what allows a soup or sauce to thicken.
  • Add in heated shrimp stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, over medium low heat, stirring and letting the soup thicken. You may not have to use the entire quart.  Add enough to get a fairly thick consistency.
  • Add in the heavy cream, stirring.  Reduce heat to low. 
  • Carefully add crab meat. Try not to break up the meat.  It's lovely when you get a big chunk of sweet crab meat in your spoonful.  Heat crab meat through and your bisque is ready to serve. 
  • If your bisque is not as thick as you'd like it, you can easily remedy this. You need to make a beurre manié, French for kneaded butter. Take equal amounts of soft butter and flour and knead them together until all the flour particles are coated in butter. I start with 4 TB each, butter and flour. Using 1 TB of beurre manié at a time, gently whisk the mixture into your heated bisque. As the butter melts, it releases the flour particles, thickening your soup without creating lumps.
  • A beurre manié is similar to a roux in that they are both equal mixtures of butter and flour; however, a roux is cooked and a beurre manié contains raw flour.  You need to keep cooking your soup or bisque so that the flour gets cooked also and you avoid any doughy, pasty flavor.

Finely mince the onion, celery, carrot, and cayenne.

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat
and add in the veggies.
Cook for about a minute.
Add in the flour, scraping up from the bottom,
so the flour doesn't burn.

This is what the mixture looks like
after cooking for about 2 minutes.

Slowly add in the heated shrimp stock,
just a little at a time.

The mixture immediately seizes up.
This is normal.
Keep adding the stock and stirring.
You may not need to use the entire quart.

Always taste test.
Add in cream.
And give it a few grinds of pepper.
Add in sherry to taste.
Gently add crab meat
so you don't break up the lumps.

I like to sprinkle some chopped scallions over top.

I always save a little extra crab meat 
with which to top the bisque.


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