So my plan WAS to pitch this as your next must-make cozy winter meal.
But Mother Nature is screwing that up! This warm streak of weather has been L-O-V-E-L-Y but so unexpected.
I’m still down for soup and sweater weather, but I think I may be alone. People are eating up this spring-like weather like crazy. Not that I blame them. I just wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to cozy time. Also, side bar: I kind of think it means our world is ending. I know. I’m cray.
The good (bad?) news is that I don’t think we’re quite in the clear yet. Mother Nature is a….mother. She is fickle. I fear we still have some cold days and nights in our future.
Let’s just ignore the weather for a moment so I can get back to my original point: this bisque is incredible and should happen in your life ASAP. Plus, it all happens in a slow cooker or crock pot, which makes it totally appropriate for warmer weather. It will keep your kitchen nice and cool.
My slow cooker takes things a step further and allows for me to saute veggies right in the slow cooker itself, rather than turning on the stove and dirtying another pan.
It is LIFE CHANGING. Seriously. I have been cooking with it nonstop since buying it earlier this year, way more than I normally used my slow cooker in the past. The sear/saute option changes the whole crock pot game.
Dan and I are huge fans of seafood bisque. In fact, if a variation of seafood bisque is on a menu, we almost always order it. Even if it doesn’t “go” with the rest of our meal. It’s just a special sort of dish to us, especially since I rarely take the time to make it at home. That’s one of my rules when ordering out: try to eat as much stuff off the menu that I’m not ambitious enough to try in my own kitchen. It works out well 99% of the time.
The thing is, seafood bisque, when done right, can take some extra love and labor. It often involves boiling crustacean shells to infuse your stock. Lots of straining and heating and reheating. I usually don’t have time for that.
My solution? Use really, really good, fresh seafood and store bought seafood stock. Seriously. People will never know the difference, as long as the seafood you’re using is fresh.
For this particular bisque, I went with shrimp and crab, two of our favorites. The shrimp are affordable and easy to find, and the crab…well…that’s the indulgent part of this dish. Jumbo lump crab costs a pretty penny, but I find that a little goes a long way. Plus, people just get EXCITED when lump crab shows up in their bisque. And who can blame them? It is a very special ingredient that is definitely worth the price point.
It makes this bisque something special, too. The bisque itself is fairly straightforward. Veggies, stock, aromatics simmering away for a few hours (oh, and let’s not forget the sherry. VERY important). Shrimp and some of the crab are added in and poached until just tender and perfect. Then comes the rest of the crab. In cold salad form!
OK, so I know it sounds kind of weird to top a hot, rich, creamy soup with a cold crab salad, but this is one of those weird things that you’re just going to have to trust me on. It works, people. It just does. The crab is lightly (key word!) dressed in a mixture of mayo, mustards, lemon, and herbs and added to each bowl of soup just before serving. It adds a fun and slightly tangy twist to the dish. Plus it’s gorgeous!
It adds a slightly different, weird-in-a-good-way twist on a fairly traditional seafood bisque, and now that I’ve gone weird, I don’t know that I can ever go back.
In fact, it pairs perfectly with this super weird weather we’re having.
Oh, and icy cold white wine and crunchy baguette toasts. Just sayin’.Print
For the Bisque:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (can add more, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry sherry or marsala wine
- 4 cups seafood or fish stock
- 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 cup jumbo lump crab meat
- Fresh parsley and lemon wedges, for serving
- Toasted bread or croutons, for serving
For the Crab Salad Topping (optional but recommended!):
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup jumbo lump crab meat
- Salt, to taste
For the Bisque:
If your crock pot has a stovetop/sear setting, you can make this entire recipe in the crock pot. If not, start it in a skillet on the stove for steps 1-3 and transfer to the crock pot before step 4.
- Set the crock pot to stovetop/sear setting (alternatively, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove). Add the oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are tender. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute or until it is melted and coating the leeks.
- Pour in the wine and cook for a few minutes or until it is reduced by half. If using a skillet, it is at this point that you want to transfer the leek mixture to your crock pot. Be sure to get any residual juices in the skillet into the crock pot.
- Add in the stock, tomatoes, Old Bay seasoning, and sugar, stirring well to combine.
- In a mixing cup, whisk together the water and flour until smooth. Stir into the soup mixture. Add in the salt and pepper.
- Cover the crock pot and set it on HIGH for 2 hours (or on LOW for 4 hours).
- After it has cooked for the allotted time, taste the bisque base for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Stir in the shrimp, crab, cream, and parsley and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.
For the Crab Salad Topping:
- While the bisque is finishing up, make the crab topping by combining the lemon juice, mayo, mustards, and parsley in a mixing bowl.
- Gently fold in the crab meat, being careful to not break it up too much. Season, to taste, with salt. Keep chilled until you are ready to serve.
Ladle the bisque into serving bowls and top with some of the cold crab salad. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired, and serve while hot with toasted bread or croutons.
- The crab salad topping is a special touch that is completely optional. The bisque itself is great without it. I love adding the cold crab salad on top for a touch of elegance and a texture/temperature contrast. Again, it is totally optional!
- I highly recommend using sherry or marsala in this recipe. A dry white wine may be used, but the flavor will be somewhat different. The fortified sweetness of sherry/marsala works really well with the seafood and other savory flavors here.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Category: soup
Keywords: Slow-Cooker Shrimp & Crab Bisque, slow-cooker seafood bisque, slow-cooker shrimp bisque, slow-cooker crab bisque, crock pot seafood bisque