It's hard not to feel a little crabby after a tough loss. But since it's Navy Week and I still have a can of crab leftover from last year's Maryland Crab Cake recipe, we might as well embrace the sentiment in its edible form. Last year, when I asked my Maryland pal for the above Crab Cake recipe, he did me a double solid and sent me his mom's crab soup recipe with it, which I earmarked for this week along with that extra can of Maryland Blue Crab I'd purchased. So after a year of seeing the can in the back of my fridge on a daily basis, it's finally time to pop the top and put it to use.
Karen's Maryland Crab Soup
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 lb crabmeat (I'm using claw - Karen recommends backfin)
5 cups seafood stock (recipe below) - OR - 2 cups beef broth + 3 cups water
1 cup lima beans (I omitted these, bad childhood memories)
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 chopped onion
3 red potatoes peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons Old Bay (or to taste - I probably used at least 4)
If you want to do just a little bit of extra work and have some shrimp to snack on, I highly recommend making the seafood stock beforehand. You'll need an extra hour and a half or you can make it the night before. Before tonight, I've never purchased shelled shrimp because I'm happy to pay an extra buck to have my fishmonger peel and devein them. But what a revelation it is knowing you can put these shrimp shells to such good use. So quickly, here's a rundown of the seafood stock, which again you can substitute with 2 cups of beef broth and 3 cups of water.
1 lb of shrimp with shells
3 things of celery (sticks? stalks? ribs?)
1 cup of carrots roughly chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 cups of water
1 cup of white wine
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons peppercorns
some fresh thyme if you have it
After peeling and deveining the shrimp, toss only the shells into your stock pot along with the carrots, celery, and onion. Heat with some olive oil for 15 mins. Save the shrimp for another project (I sauteed mine for about 3-4 mins in some of the white wine and extra garlic and butter and lemon and devoured). Then add the garlic and heat for another 2-3 mins. Things should start smelling really good by now.
Add the wine. I usually cook with Sauvignon Blanc. Save some for yourself of course.
Add the water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer slightly covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Pour through a strainer and reserve the liquid - there's your stock.
Now for the crab soup. Either have your 5 cups of seafood stock ready, or your beef broth and water, whichever path you took to get to this point. My veggies are ready to go:
Heat your liquid in a large heavy-bottomed pot for a few minutes and then add your carrots, corn, potatoes, onion, and lima beans (if you so choose. Personally I'd sooner toss a handful of pig eyes in there before limas, but that's just me. Coincidentally pig eyes are probably the weirdest thing I've ever eaten -- what's your weirdest food, OFD?)
Add your Old Bay. This is the chief seasoning of the dish. Add lots. As much as you can handle. I think I ended up with 4 tablespoons and could've easily gone with more. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender, probably 20-30 minutes.
Now for the crab. As you can see, I still have some time left on the expiration clock, even after sitting on the shelf for a year.
Add the crab to the pot and heat through for about 5 minutes.
Serve with some parsley or maybe some crusty bread and dig in. AND BEAT NAVY!