August 21, 2014
There's something about getting your own food, and working hard for it that makes a meal that much more satisfying. It's about the hunt, getting the right amount of food you need (in this case, I fed lots of people), sustainability, and feeling more connected to what you're eating. I went crabbing this particular weekend with some friends and got a load of red and rock crab (dungeness crab season runs from November-June so we can't take those at the moment) and took it home to make a nice bowl of crab and corn chowder. It was delicious, full of crab meat, and very satisfying.
I first steamed the crab, then cleaned them really, really good (it makes it a ton easier to clean once they're dead, no risk of getting pinched!). These guys had a lot of gunk all over them so they needed a really good deep cleaning. Once they were scrubbed and cleaned the tedious part happened which wouldn't have happened without the help of my dear friends / diners. We all took part in de-shelling 11 wonderful crabs to get the meat out of the shell so we could make a crab stock for the soup. It was a fun activity, and I even got a few cuts from these razor sharp shells (dungeness crab have a less thick shell, so I can't wait to do this when they're in season) which did really sting for a while, but hey, a girl has got to eat!
In the end, everything turned out delicious and I really loved the entire process. I'm all for sourcing your own food, and even though I don't do it very often, I'd love to do it more and am definitely going to start trying! There's a woman I absolutely look up to for this and if you've read my blog before I'm sure you've heard me mention her before. If you haven't, take a look at this woman, she is definitely on a whole other level.
Crab Corn Chowder recipe (5 hefty servings):
11 whole crab (around 1-1.5 lbs. each) de-shelled with meat reserved on the side and shells saved for stock
3 ears of corn (white or yellow)
1 bunch of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tablespoon of peppercorn
4-6 oz. tomato paste
3 yukon gold potatoes
2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)
Fresh chopped parsley
8 oz. heavy cream
2 dried Bay leaves
Place shells in a large pot (mainly the bodies, cleaned, and some legs if you want) and add enough water just to cover the shells. Add garlic whole with skin on, peppercorns, 2-3 stalks of celery, half the onion with skin on, and tomato paste. Simmer for 45 minutes until dark and crabby in flavor. Strain stock. Add salt as desired.
*You can add any other vegetables to the cooking process that you like, I just used what I had available.
Cook corn and cut off the cob, then reserve it to add later. Add remainder of onion (diced) and bell peppers (diced) to large stock pot and brown with olive oil until nice and tender. Add chopped potatoes and brown for a minute or two. Add crab stock and bay leaves, heat until simmering. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add heavy cream, corn, crab meat, and parsley. Stir until combined and turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!