San Fran Crab Chowder

2:29 am on 21 February 2009

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh paddle crabs, preferably live
  • 2 ltr Water
  • ½ leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 small crusty bread cobs
  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g flour
  • ½ L cream
  • 2 handfuls spinach, washed and shredded
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion bottoms
  • 2 tablespoon dill, chopped (you may use ½ the quantity of dried dill)
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • sour cream

Method

Place the crabs into a freezer for about 2 hours. This will humanly kill them.

Wash the crabs in cold fresh water then with a heavy knife, chop then into quarters.

Place the chopped crab into a large pot. Add the water, leek, onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 1½ hours.

Slice the top of each cob and hollow out the loaves (you can use the inside for stuffing or bread crumbs).

Brush the cob inside and out with the olive oil and bake in a moderate oven, about 160c until they become crisp and golden.

Pass the stock through a sieve, separately retaining both the crab and the stock.

Wipe out the pot and place back on the heat. Add the butter and melt. Stir in the flour and gently cook for about 10 minutes. Slowly add all of the stock, continuously stirring in order to achieve a lump free soup. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prick all the meat from the craws and body of the crabs. Do not use any on the 'feathers' or gills as can be slightly toxic.

Add the crab meat, spinach, spring onions and dill to the soup about 5 minutes before you wish to serve it.

Adjust the seasoning before filling each of the cobs with the soup.

Garnish with and dollop of sour cream and chopped spring onions.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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