Bisque is a French soup that is made from crustaceans, like lobster, crab, or shrimp. In traditional recipes, the shells of crustaceans are used to make a seafood stock, and then the meat of the shellfish is added at the end along with heavy cream to finish the soup. Bisques have a smooth, velvety texture. They differ from chowders, which are chunky, and include pieces of potatoes, corn, and bacon. Over the years the term bisque has evolved to describe any puréed soup, like, butternut squash, mushroom, and tomato bisques.
This recipe is an easy, less expensive version of crab bisque. Instead of cooking the shells and making a broth, I used seafood stock I made myself from leftover shrimp shells. You can purchase seafood stock in the supermarket or use chicken broth, although your bisque will not be as flavorful. I purchased lump crab meat from Sam’s, rather than using crab legs, which we know can be a bit pricey these days. If you use lump crab meat, be sure to pick through it and discard any shell fragments.
Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.
4 tablespoons butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup flour
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups seafood stock or chicken broth
½ cup sherry
½ teaspoon Old Bay® Seasoning
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound lump crab meat
Salt to taste
Fresh dill for garnish
In a large kettle, melt butter over a medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, or until onion is transparent.
Add flour and stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add tomatoes, seafood stock, sherry, and Old Bay Seasoning and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Let the soup cool for a bit. Then transfer to a blender and process until smooth.
Return the blended soup to the kettle. Add heavy cream and crab meat and stir to combine.
Continue simmering until the crab meat is heated through.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped fresh dill.
Tips on shopping for crab: Crab meat can be pricey these days. For this recipe, I purchased a one-pound container of Blue Swimming Crab® Wild Caught Lump Crab Meat at Sam’s for $24.98. You can use crab legs if you have them on hand.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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