Louisiana cooking is famous for pairing farm-to-table vegetables with fresh Gulf seafood. Oyster and spinach is a common duo in many soups and shrimp and artichoke shows up frequently as well. But my all-time favorite is a traditional soup: Corn and Crab Bisque.
This cream-based soup has its origins in the Creole culinary culture of New Orleans and you’re likely to find it on upscale menus at the best restaurants in the city. Here in Acadiana, Corn and Crab Bisque is just as popular and has become a mainstay of most good Cajun cooking or Creole cooking of the region.
In my version of Corn and Crab Bisque, I use fresh-cut yellow corn scraped from the cob along with all the residual corn “milk.” I will admit that in a pinch I’ve been known to use canned corn. But if the season is right and the corn is sweet, I will always opt for fresh. In Louisiana, fresh-picked crabmeat is readily available year round and I always splurge for the white lump crab rather than the less expensive backfin or claw meat.
The holy trinity (onions, celery and green bell pepper) is a base for my bisque along with fresh herbs and a punch of Cajun spice. The real ingredient departure for my recipe version of this Corn and Crab Bisque is sherry. Most Creole cooks relegate sherry to turtle soup only, but it is a critical part of my flavor arsenal and shows up in many dishes, mostly cream-based recipes. Here I use a smooth splash of sherry and crown this magnificent bisque with smoky bacon. It is a marriage made in Cajun and Creole heaven.
- 6 strips of smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 4 cups half and half
- ½ cup sherry
- 2 cups fresh-cut corn or canned corn
- 1 pound fresh Louisiana white lump crabmeat
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced green onion tops
- In a large black iron pot over medium-high heat, add the bacon pieces. Cook until the bacon is browned and remove to a paper towel to drain. Reserve for later use.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and return to medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook until browned. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter and flour to the vegetable mixture. Whisk the flour rapidly until it blends into the butter and begins to cook, about 2 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and hot sauce. Add the half and half along with the sherry. Stir until combined. Add the corn and crabmeat along with the thyme and parsley. Stir and let cook at a simmer for 20 minutes until thickened to a bisque-like consistency.
- Taste the bisque and add salt and pepper along with more hot sauce if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of green onion tops along with the reserved bacon pieces. Serve with hot French bread.
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