Spicy Crab Bisque

Tanya Holland's decadent crab bisque is studded with plenty of lump crabmeat. Thanks to a hit of cayenne and Tabasco, the soup has a sneaky heat.

Slideshow: Fast Soups
  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
KEY: Soup


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Mashed Roasted Garlic
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground mace
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds jumbo lump crab or Dungeness crabmeat
  • Oyster crackers, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, scallions and bay leaves and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is thickened and the vegetables are very tender, 15 minutes.

  2. Add the roasted garlic and milk; bring to a simmer. Stir in the sherry, ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cream and Tabasco and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crab; simmer until hot. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the bisque with oyster crackers.

Make Ahead

The crab bisque can be refrigerated without the crab for up to 3 days. Reheat the bisque gently and then add the crab just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Ripe, fruit-forward California Chardonnay.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published November 2013

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