Healthy Crab Bisque

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Healthy Seafood Bisque

Healthy Seafood Bisque

Healthy Seafood Bisque

From my family to yours, wishing you health, happiness and many delicious moments in 2014.  Happy New Year!!

As I wind down from the whirlwind of the holidays, quietly reflecting on the past and looking forward to the possibilities of the future, I need a comforting yet light meal.  My Dungeness Crab Bisque fits the bill.

Dungeness crab has always held a special place in my food memories.  Growing up, my family would typically have a crab-cracking feast a couple times throughout the year.  No matter how it is served, there is something sophisticated and festive about it.  I love Dungeness crab anytime and it is especially fitting for the holidays because of how it invokes memories of my family and feasts.  What I love about my bisque is that its base is cooked and pureed vegetables instead of the butter and cream found in most counterparts so the flavor of the Dungeness crab is the star of the show.  Though healthy, it is hearty and satisfying and appropriate for a low-key family dinner or a fancy dinner party.  It also keeps well for leftovers, which comes in handy if you have a house full of hungry guests around the holidays.

Our friend’s family tradition of making crab bisque every Thanksgiving inspired me to make my own.  This has been my season for soups and having recently experimented with clam chowder I felt like it was a natural progression to try a bisque.  I learned in the process that chowders and bisques are similar, the main difference being that chowders are typically chunky and bisques are usually pureed.  Another difference between my bisque and my chowder is the thickening agent.  In this bisque I used rice that when blended gave the soup some substance whereas in my chowder I used flour as you would to make a béchamel sauce.  Either method works.  My family didn’t miss the cream so we omitted it altogether one night and just added a splash of half and half on another occasion.  You can add more to make it richer and creamier to your liking.

*I made my own seafood (crab) stock with the shells.  It was an easy process but increased the overall cook time (adding roughly 1 1/2 hours).  I thought it was well worth it because the stock infused the bisque with more of the Dungeness crab flavor that I love.  If I didn’t have the time to make my own crab stock then I would use a vegetable stock or broth, as opposed to chicken, for a more neutral flavor.

Crab Bisque
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
What I love about my bisque is that its base is cooked and pureed vegetables instead of the butter and cream found in most counterparts so the flavor of the Dungess crab is the star of the show.
Seafood stock
  • Shell of 2 crabs
  • Water to cover shells by 1 inch
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in wedges
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt
Crab Bisque
  • 4 cups seafood or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • ½ leek, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tomato, cut in wedges
  • ¼ cup rice
  • Crab meat
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
Seafood stock
  1. Let shells simmer for 1 hour, not boiling, removing the foam as it bubbles to the top.
  2. Add the wine and rest of ingredients.
  3. Let simmer for 30 minutes
  4. Strain in a fine sieve.
  5. Reserve 4 cups for the bisque and refrigerate or freeze additional stock.
Crab Bisque
  1. Saute leek, shallot and garlic in 1 Tbsp butter at medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add wine, broth and remaining ingredients, except for the crab meat.
  3. Let simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  4. Let cool until you can puree it in your blender.
  5. Return the blended soup back to the pot.
  6. Warm the soup and season it to taste with cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.
  7. If desired, stir in a splash of half and half.
  8. Stir in the crab meat.
  9. Serve immediately.

Healthy Seafood Bisque

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