Saturday, June 28, 2008


Recently, we ate at Christoph's, a new restaurant in the Sheraton Grand in downtown New Bern. Someone in our party ordered the Butternut Squash Crab Soup, and I tasted it. It was beyond heavenly. So now I want to experiment with crab soups and work my way towards finding one that is as good as Christoph's. This recipe comes courtesy of Gail L. Harris and
Allrecipes, where it was rated 5 out of 5 by 24 members. With a rating that high, I thought I had to try it, especially since I had 6 red peppers sitting in my fridge (they were on sale, naturally).
I didn't have cayenne pepper, which the recipe called for, so I used my friend Sara's ground Thai peppers. When I tasted the soup, it was just a little bland, so I upped the salt and Thai peppers and added a little fresh grated nutmeg and paprika. We both liked this soup, but if Christoph's soup was a 10 out of 10, this was an 8 out of 10. 8 out of 10 is pretty good, but I'm still searching for the best crab bisque recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper and Crab Soup, adapted
2 red bell peppers
10-1/2 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
1 small potato, peeled, chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne or other ground hot pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used McCormick California style, with parsley)
About 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil + leaves for garnish
1/4 tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
1/8 tsp. paprika + extra for sprinkling on top
1/3 lb. fresh crabmeat, cartilage removed
1-1/3 cups fat-free half and half (Land o'Lakes, only, because it won't curdle.)

Roast red peppers: Wash them and place them on a hot (400-425F) charcoal grill, turning as they blacken. (Alternately, you can broil them in your oven, turning them as they blacken.) As soon as the peppers are blackened all around, place them in a paper bag, or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let them steam for approximately 10 minutes to loosen the skins. (You can also skip this step and substitute jarred roasted peppers.) Peel the skins and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers and place into a large saucepan along with the chicken broth and chopped potato. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the seasonings. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or till everything is quite tender and cooked through and flavors have blended.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. (Or, if you're lucky enough to own an immersion blender, puree the soup right in the pot.) Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the crab and the half and half. Heat over medium heat to warm through, about 5-10 minutes.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of paprika and some basil leaves.
Yield: 2-3 servings
Note: The original recipe serves 6, and I made 1/3. Click on the Allrecipes link above to find the original recipe and the reviews.

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