Partan Bree

Partan Bree is a Scottish crab soup thickened with cream and a little rice.


  • about 225 g/ 8 oz crab meat
  • (what you should get from a 675 g/ lb crab with some careful picking, or use frozen)
  • 60 g/ 2 oz pudding rice
  • 600 ml/ 1 pt milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 115 g/ 4 oz onions, finely diced
  • 60 g/ 2 oz butter
  • 4 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 450 ml/ ¾ pt fish, shellfish or light chicken stock
  • 300 ml/ ½ pt double cream
  • salt and pepper
  • little finely chopped parsley, for garnish


If picking a fresh crab, reserve the claw meat to add just before serving.

Put the rice in a pan with the milk and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is soft, about 20 minutes.

While it is cooking, sweat the onion in the butter until soft and translucent. Reserve.

Remove the milk from the heat, stir in the crab meat (except for the claw pieces if you have them) and put into a food processor or liquidizer together with the onion and chopped anchovies. Blitz to a purée. With the machine still running, pour the stock through the feeder tube.

Use a wooden spoon to push this mixture through a sieve into a clean pan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Add the remaining crab meat and stir in the double cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat through but do not allow to boil. Add any reserved claw meat.

Serve in warmed soup bowls with a little finely chopped parsley sprinkled on top.