Cornish crab bisque

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A warming, flavourful dish that’s guaranteed to wash away the winter blues.



Serves 4
2x 1lb/450g crabs
200ml olive oil
2 peeled medium-sized carrots
4 sticks celery
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
Small bunch fresh tarragon
1 heaped tbsp. tomato puree
1tsp paprika
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 star anise
Good pinch of Cornish sea salt
500g cooked rice, rinsed well under cold running water

To serve

Crusty bread or crutons
Spicy mayonnaise or Gruyere cheese


– Heat the over to 160C.
– Next, prepare the crab. Crab Bisque only uses the shells, so begin by picking out all the meat – this can be used separately for a salad.
– Remove the crab gills, and dispose of them.
– Carefully smash the crab shells using a rolling pin – covering the shells with a tea towel while you do this will prevent too much mess.
– Take a large roasting tin and spread the pieces of broken shell across the bottom then drizzle with about half of the olive oil.
– Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning the shells occasionally.

– Meanwhile, finely chop all the fresh vegetables and the tarragon – using a blender achieves a finer, more uniform result.
– In a large pan add the remaining olive oil and sweat the shopped vegetables over a gentle heat for 20 minutes, giving them a stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
– Next add the tomato puree and allow the mixture to cook for another 3 minutes before adding the roasted shells, paprika, tinned tomatoes, star anise and sea salt.
– Add enough water to cover all the ingredients.
– Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring now and then.

– Now add the cooked rice and blend all the ingredients with a hand blender – use a clean tea towel to cover the pan while you do so to avoid hot liquid splashing out.
– Finally, pass the soup through a conical strainer to remove the crab shell and the star anise.
– Give the bisque a quick taste to check for seasoning and serve with crusty bread or croutons. A swirl of spicy mayonnaise and a little shaved Gruyere cheese on each bowlful gives a final flourish.