She-crab secrets to get ready for the East Coast Soup Classic on Coast Live

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - The 10th Annual East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic returns to  24th Street Park at the oceanfront on Saturday, April 7th. To learn more check out www.BeachStreetUSA.com.

We get a taste of the competition with Chef Mary Cook from the Culinary Institute of Virginia (www.casualgourmet.com).

Here is Chef Mary's recipe...

She Crab Soup
Chef Mary Cook, Culinary Institute of Virginia
Yield: 4 –6 servings

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter
½ yellow onion, small dice
1 stalk celery rib, diced
3 sprigs Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
4 cups Clam Juice or Crab stock
1/4thcup Sherry
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Kosher Salt/White Pepper –to taste
Fresh or Pasteurized Crabmeat-special, claw, back fin, lump, jumbo lump
Or if you are lucky enough to catch your own crabs, you'll need about a dozen. Choose live fresh crabs that are active and heavy for their size, then cook or steam & crack

What to do:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onion, celery and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture lightens in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not let the flour turn brown.

Stir in the Old Bay, Thyme sprigs and Bay Leaf. Once the spices become aromatic, add the clam juice and sherry. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Add the cream, return to a simmer, and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the aromatics and strain the soup through a fine sieve.

Stir in the lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire, and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir in the crab meat and garnish with  sherry.