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
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
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds jumbo lump crab or Dungeness crabmeat
Oyster crackers, for serving
How to Make It
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.
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.
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.
Ripe, fruit-forward California Chardonnay.
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Review Body: This turned out to be a nice bisque for Christmas Eve, but I had to add a good bit of spices and extra seafood. I also got 6 rim soup bowl servings from it, so it would not serve 12 unless you are serving cup size bowls (just so you know). I think this dish needs a little work to make it perfect.