Dec. 3, 2009
She Crab Soup (Fat-Free, Vegan)
Or more accurately, The-She-Crab-Lives Soup because no crustaceans were harmed in the making of this soup! As you may know, I went to college in Charleston, South Carolina and my favorite Charleston dish was She Crab Soup. No question, hands down, I loved it the most. Needless to say, I've wanted to veganize She Crab Soup for a while now but couldn't figure out what to do about the crab. I kept waiting for some great imitation to be made but nada. Finally, a few weeks ago it all came together for me. I was preparing my celery root to make celery root soup when (& blame the smell of the celery root for this) I realized I could use oyster mushrooms instead of crab meat! Oh the genius of it all!
Before I get to the recipe, though, there some things I need to say about this cultural dish. The original soup is made with cream, which I subbed right out to keep the soup fat-free but you can use vegan cream if you want to. Some restaurants also chop up a stalk of celery, which I've omitted because I find celery to be a little too overpowering in creamy soups. Tabasco is the brand of hot sauce most commonly used in this dish and down South in general, but I simply substituted the hot sauce I had on hand. Finally, you want to use a good quality sherry (not cooking sherry) here, but the soup is still good even if you skip it. One last note, white pepper is really hot, it kicks the pants off of black pepper, so start with a tiny dash and go from there.
A wonderful vegan and fat-free version of the famous Charleston soup.
Chef's Notes: For a more authentic soup, you may substitute vegan cream for the non-dairy milk. Some restaurants in Charleston also incorporate a chopped stalk of celery in the soup, which you can add with the mushrooms. Tabasco is the brand of hot sauce most commonly used in She Crab Soup (and Southern cooking in general), but any vegan hot sauce will do. Finally, you want to use a good quality sherry, not cooking sherry, here and be careful with the white pepper - it has a more powerful kick than black pepper.
2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
2½ cups nondairy milk
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp mace (seasoning)
¼ tsp hot sauce
¼ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp kelp
a dash of Old Bay seasoning
3 tbsp sherry
⅛ tsp white pepper
Coat a medium pot with a thin layer of water and add mushrooms. Cook over high heat until mushrooms are soft, turning brown and have released their juices. Set mushrooms aside. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and whisk until well combined. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, immediately reduce to medium and whisk as it thickens. Once it has slightly thickened, taste and adjust seasonings as needed and add salt to taste. Pour soup into two bowls and spoon cooked mushrooms in the center. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and a light dash of paprika or Old Bay Seasoning.