Recipes for cooking and serving Chesapeake Blue Crabs fill hundreds of cookbooks. This unusual recipe for Crab Soup is over 100 years old and was retrieved from the Folklore Collection at the Nabb Rearch Center at Salisbury University.
The recipe was submitted as part of a University assignment for student Kevin Sheldon in 1977 when he was 19 years old. He collected this recipe from Mrs. Mary Betts of Crisfield who at the time was 73 years old.
Mrs. Betts stated that the recipe had been in her family for many years and her grandmother made the same soup.
Mom Mom’s Crab Soup
As submitted by student Kevin Sheldon of Salisbury, MD – December 3, 1977
Mrs. Betts uses her own home grown vegetables for the soup. Nothing from a can. As far as the crab meat goes, she catches her own or gets fresh crabs from a friend. She doesn’t use canned crab meat. Everything is “naturally prepared.”
1 lb. beef shin bone in 3 qts. water
1 large onion, chopped very fine
2 big celery stalks, chopped fine
5-8 good size tomatoes
1 tbs. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
about 3/4 lb. of freshly chopped vegetables
1 lb. backfin crab meat
1/2 lb. of claw meat
Put the first 7 ingredients in a large pan. Simmer for 3 hours or until meat is tender. Pan should be covered while cooking.
Add the vegetables and crab meat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Serve right away.
Soups are a welcome meal in these cold winter days, but crabs are out of season. The good news is that in the subsequent thirty-seven years since this recipe was taken down by Kevin, pasteurizing methods for preserving flavor in crabmeat have come a long way. Current methods for pasteurizing Chesapeake Blue crabmeat retains much of the flavor as when it was fresh. So give this a try. If you’re looking for a good crabmeat dealer who ships to the retail markets try J.M. Clayton Seafood in Cambridge. They have pasteurized meat (sold in a can). Also sells the claws separately.