Dungeness Crab Chowder

Whoa my goodness! Such a yummy pot of goodness to be making on a cool night. I absolutely adore Dungeness Crab and when the season hits the San Francisco Bay, I get giddy with joy and often maw down on multiple whole crab over many days during the holidays. I went a little overboard (Tehe) this year because recent holidays have been spent on the East Coast. I bought, ate, and served so much crab that I actually had an assemblage of pieces left over from my last meal of crab. I was crabbed out, but I could let this succulent goodness go to waste! So, I plucked the morsels from their shells, rinsed them and gingerly packaged them in a freezer bag with hopes of a crab soup later on. Last night was the night! The result was a creamy yet light chowder with a base of coconut milk rather than cream and lots of good vegetables. 

The best part about this chowder is that it was easy for me to make it vegetarian for my husband then add the crab into half of it later for me to enjoy. I also like to keep things healthy (I made a potato au gratin the other night with so much cheese and heavy cream that it reminded me why I cut the fat and dairy whenever possible. Oy!) so I used coconut milk instead of cream, great for vegans, you can easily make this recipe vegan, just sub butter with a little more oil or Earth Balance and don’t add crab. You can also use light coconut milk but you may want to add a bit more flower to thicken. Next time I make this chowder I might spice it up even more and throw in some chopped poblano peppers. I think it would give the soup even more depth especially if you are going the vegan or vegetarian route. You might also want to add another can of corn in that case.

Dungeness Crab Chowder

Meat from one to two Dungeness Crabs depending on how crabby you want it, I like mine very, very crabby 🙂

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes

4 spears celery

1 medium onion

2 – 3 red bell peppers (I used 3 and they were on the smallish side)

1 – 12 oz. can of corn

1 – 12 oz. can of coconut milk

3 cups no chicken broth

3 tbsp. flour, I use gluten fee soy flour

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp Old Bay

1tsp white pepper

1tsp paprika

1 large bay leaf

1 tbsp vegetable oil

few grinds of black pepper

Sea salt to taste, about a tbsp.

Start by prepping your veggies. Peel and slice the potatoes, I like half inch chunks. The celery is I slice diagonally so you get a good bit of it in the soup, I find it gets lost if it’s chopped too small. Dice your onion, crush and chop your garlic – keep them separate from your veggies. Chop small chunks of the red pepper. Heat your pot, I used my Le Creuset 6 3/4 quart dutch oven, I just like how it cooks soup, then add your oil and butter. Let it melt, toss in the onions and garlic and add your spices – bay leaf, Old Bay, white pepper, black pepper, salt – saute together for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the spices begin to perfume. Then add all the rest of your vegetables. Saute, stirring often for another 5 or 10 minutes on medium heat to cook and coat your veggies. Then add the soy flour  and stir. Next add your no chicken broth, I use this one, and I’m very lazy about it so I generally just add the water straight to the pot then add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the gooey goodness. Of course, you can simply add three cups of traditional stock. After I add the liquid, I like to stir in in and let it almost come to a simmer before I add the coconut milk. Then cover, bring to a boil then turn to medium  and cook for 10-15 minutes, watching that it doesn’t boil over. Fork a potato to see if it’s been cooked through to test soup for doneness. Chop your cilantro and drain your corn while you wait. Uncover and remove the bay leaf or leaves from the pot, they should be floating near the top and can be fetched easily with tongs. Add your corn and your crab stir in. Remove from heat, test your spices and more if needed and serve!

If you froze your crab, like I did, then just stir until it’s thawed and warmed!

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