Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Best Cream of Crab Soup

I have been wanting to make cream of crab soup for a couple years now, and I finally did it on Saturday. It was possibly the best cream of crab soup I have ever had, and I have had a lot of cream of crab soup in my day, because I live in Maryland! I found the recipe in a cookbook called "The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook," and it was one of 22 crab soup recipes. I thought the cookbook was the right place to look for my cream of crab soup recipe, especially since I loved the crab cake recipe I used from the book. The soup was easy to make and it tasted amazing. Greg exclaimed how much he liked it, and then after eating it for awhile, he turns to me and says "um, so how unhealthy is this soup, because it seems really rich." And I was like, "um, well it is CREAM of crab soup, and why do you have to take the fun out of everything?" I then explained to him that although it did have heavy cream, that is was thickened because a flour roux was added to the soup. It is the roux that makes this soup so nice and thick (but of course it's the cream that makes it so deliciously, um, creamy).  I ended up using crab claw meat for the soup and it worked out well. You can choose to add the sherry, but I don't think it is necessary. I do recommend sprinkling it with some extra black pepper and Old Bay Seasoning before serving. Oh, and make sure you have some toasty bread or crackers for dipping. Enjoy.

Recipe for The Best Cream of Crab Soup 
4 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 small to medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. of Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. of ground yellow mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. of salt
16 ounces of heavy cream
16 ounces of half and half
1 pound of crabmeat (I used crab claw meat)
3 Tbsp. of sherry, optional
Parsley leaves for garnish, optional

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large stockpot. Add in the diced onions and pressed garlic and stir. Stir frequently and cook until the onions come to a light golden color.
While the onions are cooking, put the flour, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, yellow mustard, cayenne pepper and salt into a smallish bowl and mix.
Once onions are light golden in color, adjust the heat to medium and then make a roux. Add the flour mixture in, and stir continuously to make a blond roux (until the mixture is light golden in color), about 3 - 4 minutes.  After the roux is made, pour in the cream and half and half. Bring it to a boil, and then stir in the crabmeat. Bring the soup back to a boil, and then immediately stir in the sherry, if using.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each with some extra black pepper and Old Bay Seasoning, and garnish with some parsley leaves, if desired.

Recipe makes approximately 6 servings. 

Recipe Adapted from: The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook, by Whitey Schmidt 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Not So Sloppy" Turkey Sloppy Joes

There were only a few meals that I did not like to eat when I was a kid. I was never fond of meatloaf or Sloppy Joes. Luckily, both these meals weren't something that were served frequently in my parent's home. I didn't mind singing about Sloppy Joes after Adam Sandler sang his Lunch Lady song on Saturday Night Live, but I still wasn't interested in eating them. It had been at least 25 years since I thought about eating a Sloppy Joe sandwich until I saw this Sloppy Joe recipe a couple months ago on a blog that I like. I read the author's writeup and apparently she wasn't crazy about the idea of  Sloppy Joes EITHER until trying them again with this recipe. So I thought I'd give it a try and  I'm glad I did. I don't like to cook with meat much, but this meal was so easy to make and helped me to overcome some of my meat preparation fears.

Greg is also not a Sloppy Joe person and he was really happy with these not so sloppy Sloppy Joes!
I call them "not so sloppy" because they aren't too saucy and the sandwich pretty much stays in tact. I omitted the tomato sauce from the recipe and used ketchup instead. This recipe uses ground turkey and the sauce combines things like root beer and apple cider vinegar. I will definitely be making this recipe again. Enjoy!

Recipe for "Not So Sloppy" Sloppy Joes

1 Tbsp. of olive oil
2 Tbsp. of dried onion flakes
1 pound of ground turkey meat
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. dried mustard powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
2 Tbsp. of ketchup
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. of Tabasco sauce
3 ounces of root beer
3/4 Tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Ketchup or other sauce, for serving

Put the olive oil in a large (nonstick) skillet over medium heat. Add in the dried onion flakes, stir, and cook for about 45 seconds. Add in the ground turkey and break the meat up as it cooks. Cook for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Stir in the pressed garlic, mustard powder, cumin, ketchup, and salt. Cook and stir until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Then stir in the apple cider vinegar, Tabasco sauce, root beer, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with some ground pepper.

Divide the meat amongst the 4 buns and serve. Serve with extra ketchup or other sauce (I used extra Tabasco on mine), if desired. Serve with your favorite sides. We had some tasty barbecue potato chips and a spinach salad!

Recipe Adapted from: Pink Parsley, originally from Cooking Light, September 2014