Blue Crab & Maker’s Mark® Bisque
by Tory McPhail, Executive Chef, Commander’s Palace
This soup is sophisticated and showcases Chef McPhail’s distinct American flavors, yet is very simple to make. Because soft shell crabs are only available fresh during spring and summer, you can substitute pasteurized fresh crabmeat if soft shells are unavailable.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves 6–8 (Makes 8 cups)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced 1/2"
3 pieces shallots, minced
1 piece leek, white part only, thinly sliced, washed and dried
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
4 ears corn, shucked, kernels cut off the cob
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pieces bay leaves
3 large soft shell crabs—cleaned (face and gills removed) or 2 cups crabmeat
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup whole milk, if needed
Salt and white pepper to taste
- Place a two-gallon pot over medium heat. Add butter, melt, then add in garlic, celery, shallots, leeks, fennel, corn, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables get soft; do not brown, approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the soft-shell crabs and cayenne pepper—cook approximately 5 more minutes or until the crabs are cooked through.
- Add 1 cup of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon carefully and ignite the pot with a match. Allow the flame to burn out, then stir in the cream and lemon juice and bring the soup back up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup in a blender in small batches and pass through a chinois into another pot.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, add fresh chopped thyme and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon to finish. You may adjust consistency with whole milk if needed.