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
1 large Idaho potato
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrot
3 tablespoons finely chopped country ham or prosciutto
2 quarts fish stock, chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 quarts milk
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 pound fresh spinach, large stems discarded, leaves finely chopped
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
10 Country Ham Croutons
How to Make It
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.
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.
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.
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.
The soup can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
The best match is a German Riesling like a Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, from the middle Mosel. Another fine choice is an Egon M&252;ller Scharzhofberger Auslese, from the Saar, which tends to produce steely wines.
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