The Soup Nazi's Crab Bisque

Posted 7 years ago by Evan Tishuk

A bowl of soup
For New Year's Eve this year, I decided I wanted crab bisque. I don't know why. But I wanted to make something I knew was going to be laborious and worth the effort. When devoting an entire day to seafood bisque, you shouldn't cheat and use prepared stock and canned meat. You need to be a part of each step and touch each morsel. And boy, does the Soup Nazi's crab bisque require a lot of hands on work. Since this went over so well with all the guests, I figured I would post the recipe with my italicized notes.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds snow crab clusters (legs)
  • 4 quarts water (16 cups)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pimento (I used roasted red pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce (I used 2 tbsps of tomato paste and a tbsp ketchup)
  • 2 tablespoons half and half (I used about 1/4 cup of whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon marjoram

Process

First you have to steam the crab legs for 7-8 minutes and then let them cool. I used a large stock pot and steamer to accommodate the surprisingly large quantity of legs. After the meat was cooked, I saved the steam juices (about 2 cups) to add to the stock.

Remove all the crab meat from the shells and set it aside. With two people, this took 75 minutes and made a pretty big mess. I think if you are particularly talented at removing crab meat, you could save some time here, but not much. It's also very hard to avoid nibbling on a few pieces. Make sure you had a big brunch so that you're not as tempted.

Put half of the shells (I used about 3/4) into a large pot with 4 quarts of water over high heat. Add onion, 1 stalk of chopped celery, and garlic, then bring mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 hour, stirring occasionally (The white part of the shells will start to become transparent), then strain stock. Discard the shells, onion, celery and garlic, keeping only the stock. (Perhaps it was the celery, but I was surprised to find that the stock was an electric green color.

Measure 3 quarts (12 cups) of the stock into a large sauce pan or cooking pot. If you don't have enough stock, add enough water to make 3 quarts.

Add potatoes, bring mixture to a boil, then add 1/2 of the crab and the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring it back to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours, uncovered until it reduces by about half and starts to thicken. Add the remaining crab and simmer for another hour until the soup is very thick

Other Notes

I didn't have enough time to allow for the full simmer, so I added a tablespoon or so of flour to thicken it up and hopefully make it stretch a little further. It provided about 8 servings. But everyone wanted seconds, so next time I will double the portions. I hope the Soup Nazi doesn't hunt me down for deviating from the original recipe.

14 Comments

olivier blanchard ~ 8 years ago

That was the best seafood bisque I've ever had, and I've had many.

Meg ~ 8 years ago

Maybe next year, and I do think there should be more next year, you could have a protocol sign that must be followed in order to receive a bowl, such as "while cooking, the chef must be supplied with a fresh beverage of his/her choice whenever current beverage runs out" and "you may not cut in line for the soup or knock anyone down on your way for seconds". The first rule is particularly important as this whole process is in the 5 to 6 hour range.

Evan Tishuk ~ 8 years ago

That's a good idea. Any time someone steps up to the plate and prepares a bona fide Soup Nazi recipe, they have executive privileges for the day -- kinda like being the president in a game of asshole.

Adam Gautsch ~ 8 years ago

I second the greatest crab bisque ever.

As a secondary note, I always find the recipe direction of salt and pepper to taste as funny one. (Notice Evan provided exact pepper measurements).

My thought is everything in a recipe should be to taste, so if you aren't going to provide measurements for salt and pepper you might as well not provide measurements for any of it.

To that point, I wouldn't be opposed to that type of cookbook either. Just a general idea of ingredients and cooking style needed and the rest is just- Have at it. People who follow every direction in a cookbook to tee scare me.

Evan Tishuk ~ 8 years ago

The thing is that with seafood bisque you already have a brine from the shells. And you want to be careful not to over-season and destroy the delicate flavor. I'd be less apt to follow the peppering instructions if it was something like clam chowder.

olivier blanchard ~ 8 years ago

One of the ingredients for a baguette is water. What you may not know (and no cookbook states this) is that the water must be French tap water. Preferably from Paris. Failure to use Parisian tap water will cause your baguette to taste different from the stuff you would get from a real boulangerie even if you follow the recipe to the letter.

Sea salt also tastes different based on where it's from.

True story.

moni ~ 8 years ago

oh, the bisque! (which, btw I kept pronouncing /bis/ /ké/).
I drove away to Florida expecting to find the sun, and instead I faced an uncanny cold weather, not felt in southern Florida since the mid 1800's. 'Well this is completely irrelevant to the Mevan's Bisque', you might say, but it is not!
Looking for some comfort, the last night of my stat in Mickey's land I went to a restaurant called Chefs de France, at Epcot. When I opened the menu my eyes immediately jumped to no other place than the 'Bisque de homard' (Lobster Bisque) and I promptly ordered it. I need to add here that Mevan's Crab Bisque, was the FIRST anything Bisque I had ever had... needless to say, my disappointment was such that I couldn't finish the darn thing. I paid $7.oo for this soul-less, lacking-in-character bowl of soup. . . and I could not stop thinking of the Mevan Bisque... the most amazing 6-hour endeavor I've ever tasted!
Oh, but to lift the spirits of my new French friend, I must say that the wine was exceptional and the Noix de Saint Jacques et gambas sautees (avec flan d'epinards et sauce a l'oseille) were awesome! ooh! and I even tried Orangina -that was cute-.
The End.

olivier blanchard ~ 8 years ago

Oh my god, french dishes. Just reading about them is making me drool.

Keith ~ 8 years ago

I stumbled upon this while browsing my RSS feeds. Holy shit now I'm hungry. It's not just general hunger pangs either. No, I'm going to have to find some kind of expensive dining establishment that serves foo foo cuisine which probably won't even approach how awesome this food sounds. Gah.

Visitor ~ 7 years ago

Just got back from a few days in Charleston, SC and had Blue Crab Bisque at Magnolias on E. Bay St. Wonderful idea! I will think about doing the same next year :-)

ugh ~ 5 years ago

what if I can't find Italian parsley?

Visitor ~ 5 years ago

italian parsley is in any produce section.

Uturnia Quagmore ~ 5 years ago

For me the realization that crab shells are what you need to make crab bisque is life changing! I am trying this recipe for the first time, but I find I can't discard the crab shells after only one hour. Why boil the crab shells for only one hour and the rest of the soup for 4? Why not boil the crab shells for 4, until all of them have become transparent? I had a Bengali friend who cooked chicken curry with the bones until the bones dissolved. I feel like the same principal would apply to crabs???

Tara | FOODIE ~ 4 years ago

I just saw this Seinfeld episode yesterday (for the 1,000th time) and now I'm craving this soup. They just make it seem so good on the show, so I must try it! It sounds delicious and your picture proves that it must have been amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

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