Friday, January 21, 2022

Dungeness Crab Bisque with Cognac

We're right in the middle of Dungeness Crab season here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Such a treat!  

Alex (my US Navy son) was here on Veterans Day Weekend and was invited to go crabbing with a bunch of his military fishing buddies. What a great time they all had! Chartering a boat out of Berkley Harbor, they dropped the crab nets out close to the Farallon Islands and managed to easily come home with 10 big Dungeness for each of them. (Lucky us!)

While Alex was here for the holiday weekend, we stuffed ourselves with fresh cracked crab with lemon-butter sauce, and pesto aioli. Of course, we had to have some famous San Francisco sour dough bread too.  

Tom and Alex even made a fabulous seafood Paella on our grill, but that's another story for a different day... 

But, I did manage to save two crabs in the freezer, and was just waiting until I had some extra time to make dinner an occasion.  This past weekend, while Tom watched the San Francisco 49rs play in the Wildcard Playoff Game, I found my Craving for Crab Cookbook, written by my friend Christine Quinn, and thought I would give her Dungeness Crab Bisque Recipe a whirl. It seemed like the ideal recipe to use with crab that had been frozen!

What can I say?  This elegant, classic soup is beyond delicious! 

Adapted from Craving for Crab - Here's what you will need:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter (use unsalted so that you can add salt to taste)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Shallots
  • 2 Minced Garlic Clves
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (I like to keep the "tube" kind handy in my frig)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/8 ground cayenne pepper (or to taste if you like it a little "hotter")
  • 1/4 tsp. smoky Spanish Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 Cups Crabmeat


  • Sour Cream
  • Smoked Spanish Paprika

1.  Melt the butter in a large deep saucepan over medium-high heat until it foams, then add the shallots. Stir the sautéing shallots and then cover the pan. Reducing the heat to low, cook for three minutes. Then add garlic - cook for 2 more minutes. Then add your flour. Whisk it all in, continuing to cook for about 3 minutes with the shallots and garlic.

2. Slowly add the chicken stock and cream. Stir well, then add the tomato paste, bay leaf, tarragon, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika.

3. Return the soup to medium-high heat and stir until it boils. Reduce the heat to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add cognac (do not skip!) and crab meat. Make sure to reserve a little crab meat to use for garnishing too!

4. Cook for 10 more minutes on low-simmer

5. Serve in large bowls. I personally like using pasta bowls - they look a little more appropriate for a dinner meal! Garnish by adding a spoonful of sour cream in the center, pile on a few crab chunks then finish with a final dusting of smoky Spanish Paprika. 

Serve with a green salad, garlic toasts and a buttery Chardonnay and you will instantly impress your guests (or your significant other!) with your gourmet skills. 


BTW - Lots of new fabulous Blue Crab Bay Stoneware pieces are now available on our site! Come take a look! 

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