White Carrot Crab Bisque

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about 7 cups 1.7 l ; Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Roots

By Diane Morgan

Published 2012

  • About

This recipe is the creation of friend and talented chef Ben Bettinger. Executive chef at Beaker & Flask, he is a star on the Portland, Oregon, food scene. He makes this bisque as an elegant starter when white carrots and crab are in season. The recipe has two parts, both of them easy and straightforward. First you make the crab stock and then you complete the bisque using the flavorful, sweet stock. You don’t need to make it all on the same day. To break up the time involved, I suggest you make the stock a day in advance and then finish the bisque the next day. Or, if you have used crabmeat for another purpose and want to make stock for this recipe from the shells, you can keep the stock longer. Transfer it to a freezer container, allowing 1 inch/2.5 centimeters of headspace, and freeze for up to 6 months. (I do the same thing with shrimp shells to make a sweet, light seafood stock that I use for a soup or for a seafood risotto.) If you have crab stock on hand, you can buy fresh crabmeat and quickly make the bisque. You’ll need to purchase 12 ounces/340 grams crabmeat.

Ingredients

Crab Stock

  • 2 cooked Dungeness crabs, 1 lb/455 g each
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium white carrot, trimmed and cut into 2-in/5-cm chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 cup/240 ml. dry white wine
  • About 8 cups/2 L water

Bisque

  • ¼ tsp. peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 bunch white carrots, about 2 lb/910 g, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
  • cup/75 ml. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. pale dry sherry

Method

  1. To make the stock, first pick the crabmeat from the shells, reserving all of the shells and cartilage. Place the crabmeat in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the crab shells and cartilage, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns. Add the wine and just enough of the water to submerge the crab shells. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat so the liquid is at a bare simmer. Using a large spoon or skimmer, skim any foam that rises to the top. Partially cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Set a large, fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the crab shells and vegetables to the sieve, capturing all of the juices in the bowl. Do not press on the solids. Discard the solids, then pour the stock through the sieve. (The stock can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing. Once the stock is chilled, use the edge of a large spoon to skim any congealed fat from the surface.)
  4. To make the bisque, remove the crabmeat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Place a small, heavy frying pan, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Add the peppercorns and coriander seeds and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the spices to a powder.
  6. In a large saucepan, combine the carrots, butter, sugar, and toasted spices. Add tsp. salt and just enough of the crab stock (about 5 cups/1.2 L) to barely cover the carrots. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat so the liquid is at a simmer. Partially cover and cook until the carrots are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  7. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender or food processor until completely smooth, adding more stock as needed to achieve a soupy consistency. (The soup should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.) Return the puréed soup to the pan, place over low heat, and add the cream and sherry. Cook, stirring occasionally, until piping hot. Do not allow the soup to boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  8. Divide the soup among warmed shallow bowls. Garnish each serving with a generous mound of crabmeat, piling it in the center.