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Serves : 10

When George Mahaffey makes this sublime, lightly creamy soup, he uses two coarsely chopped boiled blue crabs, which add rich seafood flavor to the dish. If you have a professional or other powerful food processor that easily cuts through shells, you too can add boiled crabs; if not, try raw, unpeeled shrimp, which are easily pureed in a standard blender or food processor.  Warming Soup Recipes

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 400°. Prick the potato all over and bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Let the potato cool slightly, then peel and coarsely grate enough to yield 1 cup; eat the rest.

Step 2    

Heat the peanut oil in a large stockpot. Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, carrot and ham and sauté over moderately high heat until the vegetables are wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, peanuts, parsley, garlic, salt, Old Bay Seasoning and bay leaf and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the grated potato, fish stock and milk and bring just to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and let the soup cool for 20 minutes.

Step 3    

Working in batches, puree the soup with the spinach leaves in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the pureed soup into a large saucepan.

Step 4    

To serve, gently reheat the soup over moderate heat. Add the crabmeat and warm for 1 minute. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a Country Ham Crouton.

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