crab chowder

Chef Frank's Crab Chowder

The sweet and flaky seafood is perfect for this soup.

In the latest episode of Epicurious' 4 Levels series, Chef Frank Proto demonstrates his take on chowder, the hearty soup typically made with seafood.

Chef Frank sources live crab, starchy potatoes, jumbo lump crab meat for body and texture, and big, thick chunks of bacon called lardon for his crab chowder. He purees half of his soup for thickening and adds cream for a more luxurious flavor. And of course, he makes his crackers from scratch, adding parsley, thyme and bacon fat.

"Chowder is a rustic soup, if it's not perfect don't worry about it," Chef Frank says. Watch the video for his demo, and get the complete recipe below.


Crab Chowder

"I love chowder, but I find usually it is too thick and heavy due to the fact that most people thicken their recipes with a roux," Chef Frank says. "This recipe is close to a classic chowder, thickened with potatoes and cream."

Crab Stock

Yields about 1 gallon


  • 1/4 cup clarified butter
  • 8 blue claw crabs (top shell, gills & guts removed), chopped
  • 2 small onions, rough chop
  • 3 stalks celery, rough chop
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup dry sherry (fino)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 parsley stems
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 6 quarts water


  1. Heat a large stockpot on medium. Add the clarified butter, then the crabs. Let sweat (without color) for 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, celery and garlic. Sweat for another 5-7 minutes.
  3. Deglaze with the sherry and cook until the alcohol has evaporated.
  4. Add the bay leaf, parsley stems, thyme and water. Let come to a simmer.
  5. Skim any scum off the top and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain through a chinois and use immediately or chill rapidly for later use.

Yields 6-8 servings


  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon, medium dice, skin removed
  • 3 small onions, medium dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, medium dice
  • 4 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled, large dice
  • 4 quarts crab stock
  • 1 bouquet garnis (1 sprig thyme, 1 small bay leaf, 8 parsley stems)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crab, Dungeness crab or king crab, meat only
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry (fino)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper (fresh cracked)


  1. Heat a large pot on medium. Add the butter and bacon. Cook the bacon through without color, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, sweat until soft with no color. Add the celery, potatoes, stock and bouquet garnis. Bring to a simmer. Skim any scum.
  3. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Puree half of the soup (vegetables only, do not puree the bacon) in a Vitamix and return to the pot.
  5. Add the cream and sherry. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring back to a simmer and then add the crab to heat through. Try to leave the crab as whole as possible.
Oyster Crackers

Yields about 2 cups


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tbsp lard or bacon fat, cold
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup ice water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a food processor.
  2. Add the parsley and thyme. Pulse until combined.
  3. Add the lard or bacon fat. Pulse until the mixture is mealy.
  4. Add the ice water until a ball forms.
  5. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic film and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 in thick.
  7. Cut into circles with a large pastry tip.
  8. Lay on a sheet tray in one layer and bake for 15 minutes at 350 F and then lower the oven to 200 F and dry out for 25 minutes.

Study soups and seafood with Chef Frank in Culinary Arts at ICE.

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