Maryland Blue Crab Chipachole
One of the dishes I had the privilege of sampling at The Great Chefs Event was this one from Chef Joseph Manzare, chef & owner of a slew of restaurants in San Francisco including Zuppa, Globe, Tres Agaves, and Joey & Eddies.
Chef Manzare started in the restaurant business at age 14 and later trained under Chef Jean-Francois Mettigner and Chef Wolfgang Puck before going to Italy and working at San Domenico in Imola. He was nominated “Rising Star Chef of the United States” for the James Beard Awards while working as Executive Chef at the Royalton in New York.
Chipachole is a traditional Mexican spicy soup made with crab meat. Chef Manzare’s recipe calls for fresh Maryland Blue Crab meat but I’m sure you can substitute pasteurized crab meat from companies like Phillips when fresh crab isn’t available but you will have to come up with some shellfish stock as a substitute.
This recipe uses Guajillo [gwah-HEE-yoh] chilies that are thick, reddish brown chiles that can be mild to moderately hot. The guajillo is popular in Mexico and one of the most commonly grown. The Guajillo chili requires a longer soaking period than most due to its leathery skin.
Maryland Blue Crab Chipachole (Soup) Recipe
2 pounds Maryland Blue Crabs
1 large onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 pounds tomatoes
5 Guajillo chilies, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch of green onions, diced
How To Prepare At Home
Bring 1 and 1/2 gallons of water plus 1 tablespoon of salt to boil in a large pot. Add the crabs and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the crabs (saving the cooking liquid) and give them an ice bath.
Clean the crabs of their meat, saving all the bones (I'm guessing he means shells because crabs are invertebrates and do not have bones) and innards but discard the lungs. Mix the crab meat with the green onions and set aside.
In a low, wide pot, add 3 tablespoons of canola oil and saute onion, Guajillo chiles, garlic, thyme, black pepper, salt, tomatoes, bones (I think he means shells) and innards from the crab, for ten minutes at high heat. Add the cooking liquid from the crab and bring to a low boil. Cook for 15 minutes.
Puree everything in a blender or food processor and strain through a medium strainer. (I'm not sure I would puree the shells but I will try to find out.)
To serve, pour the soup into bowls and add crab meat with the green onions. Top with cilantro (optional), and serve with Tequila (optional of course).
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