"I wanted to create a second course that is indulgent, rich, and pretty, too. Funny: The first time we tried this crab bisque and pureed the soup in a food processor, we almost decided to start over because the texture wasn't smooth enough. But then we put it in the blender, and it came out perfectly creamy." --Mary Drennen Ankar, Test Kitchen Professional
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons vermouth
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed and divided
3 cups fat-free milk
1 cup clam juice
1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots and celery to pan; cook 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in vermouth; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Add salt, peppers, and 8 ounces crabmeat.
Combine milk and clam juice in a large bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Whisk flour into milk mixture; add to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.
Place half of milk mixture in blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining milk mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in cream; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Combine the remaining 8 ounces crabmeat, chives, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Top soup with the crabmeat mixture.
Wine note: If there's ever a time to pull out a good chardonnay, it's when crab is on the table. The wine's lush apple fruit loves the sweet shellfish, and if you pick a wine with an edge of creamy citrus, it works like a twist of lemon. Napa Valley's 2007 Antica Chardonnay ($35), from Italy's Antinori family, is your bottle for the Crab Bisque, with crisp citrus and bracing herbs balancing its sweet fruit. --Sara Schneider
I thought this recipe was delicious. I made a couple of modifications. I like a little more heat, so I added some extra black and red pepper. Also I substituted 2% milk instead of fat-free milk and then omitted the cream. Lastly, instead of adding the flour to the milk/clam juice mixture, I added 1 tablespoon butter to the pot and added the flour to that after step #1. I cooked that for about 1 or 2 minutes before adding the milk/clam juice and it turned out perfectly.
Unfortunately, DH and I didn't particularly care for this dish. I was excited that it had so little fat and calories, but in the end the lack of creaminess one expects in a bisque was missing. The only thing I did different was to add a little white pepper for a little bit of a kick. I did, however, like the mixture of crab, lemon juice and chives. May use that idea for something else.
We enjoyed this bisque tonight for a pre-Christmas dinner with salad and sourdough bread. It was delicious and very filling. I only had 1 cup of shallots, so that is all I used. And I used sherry in place of the vermouth.
A lot of prep...worth it. Because of other reviews, I made it two ways, the way the recipe states (except subbed better than bouillon clam base for clam juice) and the second way with sherry and lobster base. Both were good but the first was better! I used half shallots and half Vidalia onion (ran out of shallots) and fat free half and half for both. I served with a side salad. I would make this again.