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Maryland (not cream) Crab Soup

I bought a pound of lump crabmeat and am going to try my hand at Maryland Crab Soup. I've looked at many different recipes, and all the veggies seem to be pretty much the same...carrots, celery, corn, tomatoes, string beans, etc...but the liquids are all different. One says beef stock, another says a mixture of beef and water, others say chicken stock, and some even say tomato sauce! I think I will combine a few and used the veggies above plus diced potato, Old Bay, of course...maybe some worcestershire sauce...but I'm not sure about the tomato sauce. Also, red pepper or no?
I've had quite a few tries at eating the soup, but always get a mouthful of shell, and very little crab, hence my purchase of lump! Hopefully fellow Baltimore Chowbuds will kick in on this one.

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  1. There should be tomato-y element to the soup. I might try adding either peeled, diced fresh tomato or diced tomato from the can instead of sauce. Personally, I think the sweet claw meet is good in the soup, but I'm sure the lump will be tasty. I say definitely no on red pepper (you mean the veggie not the spice, right?). Too overpowering. And why not use fish stock? I've never made this soup but eat it frequently (I'm a Baltimore 'Hound too)-- let me know what you decide as I'd like to try my hand at it sometime.

    1. The person who makes this at the Maine Ave fish market says tomato-based. Having tasted his, I'd say that that is the way to go.

      1. When I lived in B'more, one of my friend's mom's used to make this all the time. She used beef broth and crushed tomatoes. Skip the red pepper, though, if you want to keep it more authentic. Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: diablo

          ok, red pepper (the veg) is out as is the tomato sauce...beef broth and canned tomatoes are in...I'm shooting for Wednesday to try it and will report back!

          1. re: crosby_p

            Check out some of these recipes

            This time of year I cheat and go to Mars Supermarkets and grab a bag of the Hanover Crab Soup mix and a can of claw meat...it ain't like Mom's
            but it'll do in a pinch

        2. my friend's mum uses beef broth and a can of whole tom's she crushes herself in the pot. she also puts little pieces of beef in it...after three years of eating it, the jury's still out on that one!

          1. This is the method that I learned when I worked in a Hampden bar, back in the early 80's.
            Put a bunch of crabs in a large pot and cover with water. Season to taste with Old Bay. Bring to the boil and cook until the crabs are done. Remove the crabs and allow to cool. Meanwhile, add beef bouillon cubes and and a large can of tomatoes to the pot. Crush the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil and then simmer while you dress the crabs. Taste for seasoning (it should be spicy and crabby!) and adjust accordingly. Then add one large chopped onion, a shredded head of cabbage and a large bag of frozen mixed veggies (the kind you used to hate in the school cafeteria) and cook until the veggies are done. Break the dressed crabs in half and toss back into the soup. Add a pound of claw or special to the soup and it is done. Serve hot with an ice cold beer, and plenty of napkins.

            1. Can't believe I forgot to post the results.....I used beef broth, two cans of diced tomatoes, carrots, onion, celery, fresh green beans cut in half, diced red potato, a can of corn from Trader Joes (drained), and a pound of lump crab. I sauteed the onion and celery in about a tablespoon of butter, then just threw all the rest in there...it simmered for about an hour before I added the crab and Old Bay, and about 4 drops of worcestershire...which was all I had left! I kept tasting and adding more Old Bay. I thought it was ok, even pretty good...until I had it the next day and it was FANTASTIC! (if I do say so myself!) I will make it again...I think I would even like it without the crab...a sort of Old Bayey veggie soup, and about 20 bucks cheaper!!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: crosby_p

                Glad it worked out! I might try making it myself but maybe just use a few cracked crabs as suggested above to keep the cost down. Yum!

                1. re: crosby_p

                  Cool, I'm going to try this this weekend, but with shrimp. I heart Old Bay.

                2. Reviving this thread because it was great help to me yesterday when I went to make crab soup for our Preakness Party!

                  Here's the version I came up with. It was incredibly well received -- this and the crab cakes were the highlights of the large lunch spread.

                  Litchick's Maryland Crab Soup

                  2 small bottles clam juice
                  1 lg. can diced tomatoes in juice
                  2 lg boxes chx broth
                  three stalks celery, diced
                  three carrots, diced
                  1 lg red onion, chopped
                  3 med/lg red potatoes, cubed (I left the peel on)
                  1/3 head of cabbage, chopped
                  1 bag frozen sweet corn
                  4 tbsp worcestershire sauce
                  4 tbsp Old Bay
                  3 bay leaves
                  2 lbs crab (I used two 1-lb cans of the kind TJ's sells in the cold case -- very tasty and only $7.99/can)

                  In a large stock pot, sweat the onion, carrot, and celery in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Do not brown the veg. Once soft, add the potato, clam juice, chx broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, Old Bay, and worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 min. Add the cabbage and corn and simmer for another 30 min. About 15-20 min before you want to serve the soup, add the crab. Adjust seasoning to taste.

                  Very simple, and it doesn't have to cook as long as I listed above. It could be ready much sooner if needed. I just liked letting the flavors marry a bit longer.