I really have no spectacular story behind this recipe – other than the fact that I always think of lobster and crab (and marine blue hues) whenever I think of New England and Maryland.
I have a good friend who grew up in the area and I simply adore listening to her talk, as she creeps back into her youthful accent when describing the great “lobstah” meal and “craaaab” legs she had the last time she visited home.

Oh, and I needed to borrow some sherry from my bestie and we decided I couldn’t go home with just a dash of sherry for the drink I was concocting…I needed more.

Thus ~ I bought the blue crab and the creamy soup came to life. (Oh, and she happened to have some Old Bay on hand for experimentation).

The blue crab is a swimming crustacean with bright blue claws and an olive green shell. It is one of the most recognizable species in the Chesapeake Bay.

Old Bay Seasoning is a mixture of herbs and spices traditionally used in Baltimore when steaming hard-shell crabs. Today, Old Bay is used on grilled fish, steamed shrimp, fried chicken, french fries, and potato salad, and for vegetable dips. The exact recipe is a secret…***

Chesapeake Bay Creamy Crab Soup

2 Tbs. butter
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large celery sticks, chopped
2 Tbs. all purpose flour
2 cups cream
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 lb. Chesapeake Bay lump blue crab meat
2 Tbs. dry sherry

Melt butter over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook into a proper “mirepoix.”
Add the flour, Old Bay, and parsley. Whisk until blended. Gradually add the cream, gently whisking to incorporate. Bring to just barely a boil.
Stir in the crab meat. Reduce heat to a  low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sherry and heat an additional 2-3 minutes, just before serving.

***Although the official Old Bay Seasoning concoction will remain forever clandestine, the best approximation for that familiar scent and flavor I could find is as follows:

  • 2 Tbs. ground bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. celery salt
  • 1 Tbs. dry mustard
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Sweet. Savory. Aromatic.

Go CRAB crazy!


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