Eastern Shore Crab Soup

Eastern Shore Crab Soup

Chesapeake Bay CookingAlmost every region around the Bay has its own version of crab soup, and the Eastern Shore, known for its quintessential Chesapeake cooking style, is no exception. Okra and rice set this soup a world apart from the heavier, ham-based crab soups prepared elsewhere on the Bay.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cups sliced okra (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Fish Stock (recipe follows)
4 large ripe tomatoes, diced, or 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes, diced, with their juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup white rice
1 pound claw crabmeat, picked over
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, okra, and garlic. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the rice and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Add the crabmeat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Fish Stock

Makes about 2 quarts

3 1/2 to 4 pounds fish heads, bones, or trimmings
10 cups cold water
2 onions, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
4 sprigs of parsley

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, skimming off surface foam frequently. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Cool completely and refrigerate if not using immediately.


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Excerpted from CHESAPEAKE BAY COOKING by John Shields Copyright© 1998 by John Shields. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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