|Oregon Dungeness Crab Chowder
3 1½-pound live or cooked Dungeness crabs
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch dice
1 cup leek (white and light green part only); sliced into rounds and washed
1 cup peeled & diced onion
1 cup peeled & diced carrots
2 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups diced red potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Cut the crab into quarters. Pick meat out, chill & reserve. (If the crabs are live: Cook in boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until orange in color. Drain, chill and prepare as listed above.) Break up the shells.
Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a soup pot. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until brown. Add leeks & cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove leeks and smoked bacon & reserve.
Raise the heat to high, add the crab shells and cook stirring occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes. Add onion, carrots, thyme, cumin, coriander, cayenne and black pepper to the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened but not browned.
Pour the white wine into the pot & cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Lower the heat & simmer for 50 minutes. Strain in a colander, pressing the solids to extract the maximum amount of liquid. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Return the chowder base to the pot & add the potatoes, reserved leeks & bacon. Add cream & simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked (7 to 10 minutes). Add reserved crab meat. Sprinkle with parsley & serve.
Serves 8, Chef Vitaly Paley, Paley’s Place