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Cornish crab soup with parsley croutons

16 AUGUST 2012
Dish type: Fish

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes + 45-50 minutes for the stock

A rich and intensely flavoured soup with the taste of the seaside. Made from brown and white crab meat, fish stock, shallots, brandy and cream, accompanied with delicious homemade crunchy parsley croutons. Served in individual petite casseroles make this a perfect recipe for informal dinner parties.

Ingredients:

Croutons

4 small slices of rustic white bread cut in 1 ½ cm (½ inch) dice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon Cornish sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Stock (to make 500ml)

750ml water
1 empty crab shell and claws
1 bay leaf
1 small onion peeled and cut in half
1 celery stalk roughly diced
1 small carrot cut into chunks
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
A few parsley stalks, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf

Soup

2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brandy
Pinch dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Brown and white meat from 1 medium prepared crab (about 170-180g)
100ml (1/3cup) double cream
Instructions:

To make the croutons

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, add the diced bread and stir fry over a low heat until toasted and golden. Sprinkle over the sea salt and chopped parsley and transfer to a serving dish.

To prepare the stock

Place the stock ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Strain the stock, if necessary top up with a little water to make 500ml and reserve.

To make the soup

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the chopped shallots for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan away from the heat.

2. Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, brandy, chilli flakes, sea salt and black pepper. Add the prepared stock and return to the heat. Stir continuously until thickened.

3. Add the cooked crab meat to the soup and stir in the cream. Heat thoroughly until piping hot and adjust the seasoning to taste.

4. Pour the soup into the petite casseroles and decorate with a few parsley croutons on top. Serve the remaining croutons in the serving bowl to be added at the table.

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