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Anti-Crabby Bisque

It’s cold and damp and I’ve had a crappy week. There, I said it. We all have them and this week was mine. But I’m over it - because I did two things: I called my friends over for a pot luck, and I made this soup. Both made me feel a lot better.

It’s super simple, very quick, and really satisfying.

I’ve had a number of seafood bisques recently (Tommy Clayton’s is wonderful), and I thought I’d play around with my own recipe.


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup flour

4 cups milk or half-and-half

1 tablespoon OLD BAY® Seasoning

Handful of fresh dill, chopped

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pound backfin crabmeat

3 tablespoons (or more. Yes, more. Always go with more.) brandy

Salt & pepper


Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan on medium heat.

Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened.

Add flour, Old Bay and dill; whisk until well blended.

Whisking constantly, gradually add milk. Bring just to a boil.

Stir in crabmeat and mustard. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Check the bottom of the pan carefully, because milk burns on the bottom of a pan quickly, before you notice it on the top.

Stir in brandy. Taste to see if it needs salt or pepper.

Heat 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay or chopped chives if desired.

Resist the temptation to use heavy cream in this recipe - it’s thick and rich enough. You could use cheaper crabmeat, but is there anything better than getting a nice warm lump of crab in a spoonful of bisque?

It’s clearly hard to pair a wine with a bunch of different dishes at a pot luck. But if we’re strictly pairing with the soup, you’ll want something a bit citrus-y like a Sauvignon Blanc, a Sancere, or even an Albarino.

On a bad day, vodka.

So then, the secret to getting over a crabby week? Pop a few bottles with your friends, laugh with them, love them, and listen to their advice. Thank them. Share food. Write about it.

Thank you, friends.

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