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Crab Stew Basque Style

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Crab stew Basque Style

Crab stew Basque style

Holly A. Heyser
This is a nice little way to use crabmeat in a stew on a cold day. It is based off a Basque recipe - a little French, a little Spanish - and relies on lots of crabmeat, some shallot and some fish stock. I served it in individual ramekins, topped with toasted breadcrumbs. You can make it in a pot if you'd like though. This recipe serves 4 as a light dinner or lunch.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery leaves or parsley
  • 4 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 finely chopped celery rib
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 T brandy (optional)
  • 2 cups fish or vegetable stock
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Bread crumbs (optional)

Preparation:

Mix the crabmeat with the celery leaves and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and gently cook the shallots and celery until soft, 3-4 minutes.

If you are using breadcrumbs, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add the flour and stir well to combine. The mix will gunk up -- this is OK. Just keep stirring it around for a few minutes, until the flour turns a nice tan color.

Add the white wine and brandy if you are using it. The mix will sputter and turn into a thick liquid like gravy. If it solidifies, add a tablespoon or two of water. Bring this to a boil and let it roll for a minute or two to burn off a bit of the alcohol.

Mix the tomato paste with the fish stock.

Turn the heat up to high and add the fish stock-tomato paste mixture. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Stir well to combine. The wine-flour-veggie mix should be pretty thick, so keep stirring until everything mixed in. Bring this to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-high and let it cook down until it looks like a thick gravy.

Taste the sauce for salt, and add some if needed. Turn off the heat.

Pour a ladle at a time over the crabmeat and mix well until it looks like a thick stew. You might not need all the sauce. Add some black pepper.

Pour the stew into ramekins and top with breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. If you are skipping the breadcrumb route, simply pour everything back into your pan and heat through before serving.

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