Blue crabs, beer, and Old Bay- the official flavors of the Chesapeake!
In the summertime we love to get up early and spend the morning catching crabs out on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes Shaun and I go on our little runabout and set a line of snap traps in the South River, dipping crabs off the marina pilings in between runs. Other times, we are lucky enough tag along with my parents on their work boat and run a trotline near Kent Narrows. Either way, it’s an adventure full of salty breezes, sunshine, and the thrill of seeing who can net the biggest crab.
No matter how the crabs are caught in the morning, the afternoon that follows is always a great one. The crabs are steamed with beer and tons of Old Bay, a process that has been perfected by Marylander’s for generations. When the crabs are ready, we all spend a lazy afternoon soaking up the sunshine, tossing back a few colds one, and most importantly- enjoying each other’s company. Those days are the highlight of the summer for us, a summer that cannot get here soon enough!
Despite the current chill in the air and snow on the ground, we found ourselves longing for the flavors of crabs and Old Bay in the middle of winter. I was so excited when Shaun told me about his plans for this Blue Crab Chili. It’s warm and comforting, perfect for winter, but has all the flavors of a summer afternoon.
Shaun cooked the crabs in the chili, giving them a rich, spicy flavor. The best part of the meal was getting to pick the crab meat out of the shell at the end- instant memories of summertime! He transformed the flavors of crabs and Old Bay into a hearty, delicious meal that is sure to banish the winter blues in one bite. I am really excited to share this one, and give you all a real taste of the Chesapeake. Enjoy… and don’t let the crab claws pinch you!
Since we featured Old Bay in our Blue Crab Chili, I thought it would be fun to share this commercial with you. It was filmed in honor of the spice’s 75th anniversary and offers a heartwarming look at Baltimore over the years. It will be aired this Sunday during the Baltimore broadcast of the Academy Awards- a first for Old Bay!
Blue Crab Chili
4 medium male blue crabs*
1 lbs spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
1 lbs ground turkey
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low sodium organic chicken stock
2 14.5oz cans organic diced fire roasted tomatoes
8oz can organic tomato sauce
6oz organic tomato paste
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle lager beer (we used Omission, which is gluten free)
15.5oz can kidney beans, rinsed
15.5oz can organic black beans, rinsed
½ cup Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
2 Tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp. butter
½ red onion, diced
½ sweet onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh jumbo lump crab meat
Fresh parsley, chopped
*Note: Have your local seafood distributor pop the top shell of the crabs and discard (they will be familiar with this). Just prior to cooking, remove and discard the “insides” (lungs and intestines), then cut each crab in half.
- In a large sauté pan, on medium heat, add butter and both types of onions. Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook only until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the chicken sausage, ground turkey, salt, and pepper, sauté until thoroughly cooked.
- In a large stock pock, add the chicken stock, roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and bottle of lager beer. Bring everything to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the kidney beans, black beans, and chicken sausage/turkey mixture. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Add the halved crabs to the stock pot and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
- Next, to the stock pot add Frank’s RedHot, tomato paste, chili powder, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, and Old Bay seasoning. Stir everything together and let simmer for 30 minutes, covered, stir once every 5-7 minutes.
- Remove lid and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes to allow chili to thicken. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Remove chili from heat and take out crab halves, place crabs to side. Let the chili set for 10 minutes before serving.
- To serve, dish chili into bowls adding a crab half to each bowl. Garnish with jumbo lump crab meat and fresh parsley.
- Store leftover chili in the refrigerator. Store leftover crab halves in a freezer Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.