10 Nov2005

I had just under a pound of peeled crab meat after my crab cakes (see previous post) were cooked. acra4Now what? I rummaged through the fridge (too late to go out shopping) and found enough ingredients to make a delicious crab, corn, pancetta and vegetable soup with tomatoes. I have not made this soup in several years and forgot just how good it is… if you have an abundance of crab or have significant leftovers after a crab meal, this is an excellent way to use the crab meat… and it isn’t that corn-starchy, pale Chinese restaurant menu staple – crab and corn soup.

When I was in college, my sister and her family would occasionally drive down to acra5Baltimore, Maryland to eat crabs (and perhaps visit the Baltimore Aquarium). On one such trip, we decided to drive along the Maryland shore and, I believe, basically got lost in what was increasingly marsh like country. No wonder there are so many blue crabs in this area…it’s like the Northern equivalent of serious mangrove areas. At any rate, I distinctly remember two things from that drive… the first was the above ground cement graves in the graveyards or churchyards in the area (couldn’t dig because it was so wet) and more importantly, a memorable stop at a “hole in the wall” crab restaurant somewhere near Chincoteague or thereabouts. This restaurant had pens of crabs out back so that they could harvest the crabs as they were molting (shedding their shell) and when fried, resulted in the freshest and most delicious soft shell crabs you have ever eaten. Also at this restaurant was a memorable crab soup…this is my version.

An authentic Maryland crab soup probably has no animal meat in it…but my acra6twist adds a touch of pancetta or bacon to pump up the flavor. Omit it if you like. To make, heat up a large enamel pan. Fry up some chopped pancetta (say 4-5 tablespoons worth) until the fat is rendered. Add perhaps two medium sized chopped carrots, one medium onion chopped, 2 stalks of medium sized celery chopped, and some fresh fennel chopped (if it happens to be hanging out in your vegetable drawer as mine was). Saute for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add 1 cup fresh corn kernels (didn’t have this so I used drained whole kernel canned corn), ½ cup frozen peas, some sliced green beans, and one medium potato chopped. Add about 8 cups of water or 4 cups low sodium chicken stock and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add one can crushed tomatoes, about 1+ tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning (critical for authentic flavor), 3-4 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce, a pinch of red pepper flakes for zing, salt and pepper. Boil this for about 15 minutes. Add about 1 pound of peeled crab meat and continue boiling until done, about 30-40 more minutes. Serve hot. My pot made 8-10 good sized servings of soup. Absolutely delicious.



  1. Gigi says:

    This is such a timely post. I have suddenly taken a great liking for tomato-based liquids (soup and beverage format). I’ve been drinking a lot of V8 lately for dinner as part of my diet. I have also learned to stop myself from ordering cream of pumpkin — my fave — in favor of tomato soup. I like the sound of what you made, MM. Good with grilled panini yeah?

    Nov 10, 2005 | 10:22 am


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  3. Sister says:

    You can also add diced green pepper and lima beans. Maryland crab soup usually has salt pork bits as well. Your recipe is pretty close, except for the fennel. It is basically a crab chowder.
    You were on the Delmarva peninsula, near Cristfield. We stopped at the packing house of Phillips, where the diner was. Phillips also had a packing house in Bantayan, Cebu, processing crabmeat for export to Japan.

    Nov 10, 2005 | 12:03 pm

  4. lee says:

    evil crabmeat posts. will look for crabmeat later….

    Nov 10, 2005 | 12:04 pm

  5. Sister says:

    You were in Deal, Maryland, practically an island. where only a couple of families of crabbers had intermarried for generations…

    Nov 10, 2005 | 12:08 pm

  6. Mila says:

    Where can we get Old Bay seasoning in Manila? What other recipes would you use it for?

    Nov 10, 2005 | 4:31 pm

  7. rina says:

    hi mila, before i left manila I was on the hunt for old bay seasoning myself but strangely enough I could not get my hands on any so my last recourse was google! try these if it still is not available:

    Copycat Old Bay Seasoning Blend

    1 tablespoon celery seeds
    1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    6 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    4 whole cloves
    1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    1/4 teaspoon mace

    In a spice grinder or food processor, grind all ingredients until they are powdered. Store in a small glass jar for up to six months.

    Copycat #2 Old Bay Seasoning

    1 tablespoon celery salt
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon ground bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/4 teaspoon mace
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Combine, mixing well. Store in a cool place in an airtight jar.

    Nov 11, 2005 | 1:46 am

  8. joey says:

    Hi Market Man! “Absolutely delicious” does seem like the perfect way to describe this…yum! :)

    Nov 11, 2005 | 2:35 am

  9. Kai says:

    What to do? Most of the Copycat Old Bay seasoning ingredients aren’t available here, too! Celery seeds? Celery salt? Must have to look at the DFA bazaar next week.

    Nov 11, 2005 | 10:05 am

  10. rina says:

    kai – for the non-mainstream spices try these stores:

    celery seeds and celery salt – cash & carry or unimart, theres a repacker called Wilpack that carries these spices, sometimes they also have ground cardamom and possibly even mustard seeds because i know they have ground mustard
    whole cardamom pods and mustard seeds – look for these in the indian grocers along UN Ave Manila, near unilevers HQ or if in makati in Taj along Bagtikan st, San Antonio Village
    sweet paprika – in terrys selection either at the Podium or at the end of Pasong Tamo extension (look for pimenton dulce because theres another blend, the smoked pimenton)
    the other ones are a bit more mainstream except for mace which I couldnt find in manila as well, just ended up not putting it
    if all else fails, sometimes santis carries a seafood boil blend that might work as an old bay sub.

    Nov 11, 2005 | 11:06 am

  11. stefoodie says:

    marketman, mangungulit na ‘ko — i not only think you need a forum na, i think you need a BBM (blogging by mail) too! i’d be happy to send some of your readers old bay, in exchange for some pinoy items i can’t find here!

    Nov 11, 2005 | 8:11 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Hi everyone, I was quiet for a day or so because I was the auctioneer at a charity auction and school benefit last night… I also donated an “Ultimate Crabby Dinner for 10” that was sold for PHP20,000! Thank you so much to the bidder who I know comes onto the marketmanila site once in a while… The evening was really rather fun and a substantial amount was raised for the school… Hence, the lack of post today as I am simply exhausted!!! stefoodie, there are lots of comments, but from about a core of 100 regular readers lang naman, I think. Kai, if you make it to the possible eyeball, I can spare a tablespoon of old bay… or the next time you have relatives come from the U.S., have them bring a can from the grocery store… Rina, thanks bigtime for the suggestions above and the replacement old bay seasoning mixture. I looked at the can and those are in fact the ingredients…it just has to be mixed in the right proportions, I guess. Mila, old bay is also sprinkled generously on crabs before simply steaming them… Gigi, what? on South Beach again? I have given up this year, up about 9 pounds since I started marketmanila!!! At that pace, I could top 450 pounds by the time I die…

    Nov 11, 2005 | 9:43 pm

  13. ssk says:

    The crab & corn soup goes very weel with French toast or rice! Sarap!

    Nov 12, 2005 | 2:43 pm


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