Corn Soup with Crab

When I read about the “Luscious Creamy Corn Soup with Crab” on Richard McGary’s blog REMCooks, I immediately knew I just had to try this. I hardly ever cook with either corn or crab, so this would be something new and exciting. It was quite a bit of work, but it turned out great! This is a very elegant dish for a fancy dinner party or special occasion. Thanks for the idea, Richard!

The local North Sea crab is a bit different from the king crab that Richard used. King crab is available here, but only deep frozen and ridiculously expensive. North Sea crab has a very flaky texture, so I think it will be even better with king crab. The combination of the creamy corn soup and the crab works very well and makes for an interesting contrast in texture. The crab and the corn soup by themselves are good, only together they are outstanding. Rather than using chicken stock, I used the shells from the crab and the corncobs to make the stock. I love recipes where all the flavor is extracted from the ingredients, even when you’re not eating them whole.


For 2 servings as a main course or 4 servings as an appetizer

1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) raw crab legs

2 ears fresh, sweet, winter corn on the cob

80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine (Richard said to use sherry, but I didn’t have any)

80 ml (1/3) cup brandy or cognac

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp minced shallots

2 Tbsp cream

salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 Tbsp minced jalapeño pepper (seeds removed)

1 Tbsp minced red bell pepper

1/2 Tbsp minced (garlic) chives

1/2 Tbsp minced fresh flatleaf parsley

For the stock

1/2 carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 bay leaf

some sprigs parsley


Richard simply wrote to “prep the corn by removing the kernels from the corncob”. I had never done this before, but Google is a faithful friend and told me that you can shave off the kernels with a (large) knife.

Shave off all the kernels and reserve the corncobs for the stock.

Put the veggies and herbs for the stock in a stockpot together with the corncobs and cover with about a litre (4 cups) of water. Bring to a simmer and let this simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the crab legs and simmer for 5 minutes.

Plunge the crab legs in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Remove the crab meat from the crab claws. Start by breaking off the “thumb”. A big piece of cartilage should come along with this.

Break the shell of the other three segments (with a special tool, but a regular hammer also works wonders) and remove the meat.

Throw all the shells back into the stock to extract more flavor out of them.

Continue until you have harvested as much crab meat as you can. I had about 300 grams (2/3 pound) or a yield of 30%.

Simmer the crab shells with the vegetables for at least half an hour longer to extract more flavor out of them.

First use a colander to get all of the big bits out of the stock. Then strain it again through kitchen paper or a cheese cloth to obtain a clear stock without scummy bits from the crab.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the shallots until translucent.

Add the corn and sauté for a few minutes.

Add the sherry (or white wine) and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the crab stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Use a food mill (or a chinois) to filter the soup and make it completely smooth.

This photo is for Conor and Baby Lady. Not as pretty as Baby Lady’s photo though…

Add 2 Tbsp cream and simmer for another 20 minutes over low heat, stirring now and then to prevent it from burning.

The resulting corn soup will be very creamy and luscious. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and just a bit of freshly ground white pepper. (Do not use too much pepper because of the jalapeño used with the crab.)

Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a frying pan and add the jalapeño, chives, and red bell pepper. (I forgot to reserve some raw red bell pepper for this recipe, so used some leftover roasted red bell pepper instead. That’s why it’s not shown in the picture.) Sauté for a few minutes.

Add the crab meat (and in my case also the cooked red bell pepper) to warm them through. Be careful not to overcook the crab!

Add the brandy or cognac and toss to mix.

Place a 5 cm/2 inch ring mold in the middle of a warm soup bowl or plate and fill it with half of the crab mixture. Ladle half the soup around it.

Carefully lift the ring mold and garnish with some parsley. Repeat with the other half of the crab mixture and soup. Serve immediately.

Wine pairing

A complex elegant dish with round and sharp notes pairs well with a complex elegant white wine that is round but has some nice character as well. I opted for a Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige (Italy) and it worked very well. The roundness went well with the corn soup and the minerality went well with the crab.


15 thoughts on “Corn Soup with Crab

  1. Richard’s recipe caught my eye, too, Stefan, and it looks to me that you’ve done it justice. I really enjoy corn chowder and this one, with the crab center, is far beyond any that I’ve ever tried. I have to do something about that!


  2. Excellent way of moving the US special across the pond. The North Sea Crab looks excellent though your pouring shot still comes in a distant second to Baby Lady’s excellent work. Another cracker.


  3. Hi Stefan,
    Corn chowder with crab is one of those combinations that go so well together that it’s almost difficult to believe that you can have one without the other! It looks like you did an amazing job creating intense flavors. One thing that I love with corn chowder and crab is a touch of cayenne pepper. I find that a little bit of heat does wonders for balancing the sweetness of the corn and the crab. I imagine that the same results could be have if you leave the seeds in the jalepeno, but its always a matter of personal preference . Thanks for sharing the recipe. I bet it was delicious!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. You are right that the heat of a dish is a matter of personal preference. When you are used to heat, the dish will need to be hotter to notice it and vice versa. (I know of someone who thinks bell peppers are hot — amazing isn’t it?) I was worried the jalapeño would overpower the delicate taste of the crab, but I think I’ll try a bit more heat next time. Since it was a recipe from Richard I was extra cautious with the pepper, as he seems to be much more tolerant to (and fond of) chiles than I am.


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