Crab stock is perfect for soups, chowders, and stews prepared with seafood. Made with blue crab shells and a savory blend of veggies and spices.
Making homemade crab stock or any stock for that matter is beyond easy. Cooking broths or stocks are made from simmering meat bones or vegetables in water with spices to made the base of soups and stews. Soups made with seafood demand a fitting broth base. As a Marylander, the natural resource for my broth base is Maryland blue crabs.
Our crabbing season runs from April to October; excellent timing for early fall soups. Maryland blue crab meat has a sweet luscious taste that’s distinguishable from crabs of other waters. But it’s the shell that you need for this stock. I like to use whole crab claws and the shell of the crab body.
How to Make Homemade Crab Stock
To make it you simply heat oil over a medium flame in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add crushed garlic, onion, celery, tomato paste, spices and bay leaves.
Let the pot heat until the contents are fragrant. Then add the white wine to deglaze. Layer in the crab shells.
Give a good stir to coat the shells then cover with water. After bringing the stock to boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer for 2-3 hours. Once cooled, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Best is cheesecloth if you have it. This recipe makes 4 1/2-5 cups.
To store- The stock will keep for about 3-4 days if refrigerated. Pour the strained stock into lidded jars.
It can be frozen for 4- months according to Still Tasty. Freezer safe ziplock bags work fine. Pour stock half way full into a freezer bag. Seal tightly removing all of the air. Lay the sealed bag flat on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the tray and place the stock in the most advantageous place in the freezer.
Maryland Blue Crab Substitutes
So, I’m sure getting Maryland crab will be challenging for many of you but don’t stress because there are a viable substitutions.
Dungeness or snow crab- I’ve had the pleasure of tasting dungeness crab on several occasions and it really good. Unfortunately we don’t get them whole in my area. Just that clean cooked body with claws. To make the swap use the shell if it’s available and claws. If the shell is unavailable, just use the claws. Don’t use the body because the meat will be impossible to filter out. The same goes for snow crabs—use only the empty shells without meat for the stock.
Shrimp- Yes, of course this now means that you will no longer be making crab stock. But shrimp stock is just as good! In fact a good mix of seafood shells will make an excellent broth. A tip from Emeril Lagasse says that you should save your shrimp shells in freezer bag until you have enough the stock; about 1-2 pounds.
Store bought- If all else fails and fresh seafood just is available, you may want to try a seafood stock from the grocery store. No, it’s no longer homemade stock but it will work in a recipe that calls for it. And it’s a 1000x better than using chicken stock in a seafood dish. Better Than Bouillon stocks are amazing.
Whichever you choose, I’m certain that it will make an amazing broth with all the ingredients in the recipe. Stay tuned for all the yumminess I’ll make with this crab stock!
- 2 lb crab shells and claws
- 8 c water
- 1/2 c white wine
- 1 lg yellow onion roughly chopped
- 3 celery stalks trimmed and roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic whole, peeled and crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp old bay
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven over medium flame. Add crushed garlic, onion, celery, tomato paste, spices, and bay leaves. Let the pot heat until the contents are fragrant, constantly stirring.
- Then add the white wine to deglaze. Layer in the crab shells. Give a good stir to coat then cover with water. After bringing the pot to boil, turn the heat down to simmer for 2-3 hours. ⠀
- Once cooled, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Best is cheesecloth if you have it. This recipe makes 4 1/2-5 cups.