What inspired me to make Drunken Crab Stew? Well, I had a pound of Maryland crab meat I bought at Southern Maryland Crabs & Seafood, in Waldorf, Charles County. The crab meat was packed by Ruark and Ashton, Inc. in Hoopersville, MD, Dorchester County, on the Eastern Shore. And, I wanted to make something other than crab cakes… again.
While I like corn-and-crab chowder, I was looking for something with a bit more variety to it. But not tomato based, like a typical Maryland crab soup. And I didn’t want to use either Old Bay seasoning or J.O. crab seasoning. A lot of folks seem to think it can’t be a Maryland seafood dish unless you use one of those seasonings. I combined some aspects of the chowder and the soup, switched some things around, and added sherry, which I think goes well with seafood. I named it Drunken Crab Stew because of the sherry.
I also wanted to make it a one-dish meal. The vegetables I used included potatoes, onions, corn, string beans, carrots, and baby lima beans. The liquids, in addition to sherry, included seafood stock, milk, and cream (along with melted butter). I originally envisioned using bacon, but found a package of diced ham, so added that instead. I also used a pre-packaged bag of home fries, made with diced potatoes and onions, spiced with paprika. Knowing the home fries didn’t have a lot of onions, I added some more to the dish.
As the vegetables and ham were cooking, the kitchen started to smell wonderful. The stew not only had a nice aroma, but the taste was great even before adding the crab meat and sherry at the end. You could easily serve it without them, but please, go all the way! I served it in bowls with crusty beer-bread on the side. I made the bread just before the stew, using Guinness Extra Stout for the beer. The recipe for the beer bread was published here on April 21, 2017. Below is my recipe for Drunken Crab Stew. ♦
Drunken Crab Stew
Yield 6 – 8 Servings
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion
- A 20 ounce bag of home fries
- 8 ounces of diced ham
- A 16 ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables
- 1½ cups seafoods stock
- 2 cups 2% milk
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 pound crab meat
- 4 tablespoons of medium-dry sherry
- Place a large saucepan on medium heat and melt 6 tablespoons of butter.
- Dice one small yellow onion.
- When the butter has melted, add the home fries, diced ham, and sliced onion.
- Cook the vegetables and ham for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Add 1½ cups of seafood stock.
- Add one 16 ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Cook for about 15 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of 2% milk and a ½ cup of heavy whipping cream. Continue cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- When the entire mixture is hot, add 1 pound of crab meat and 4 tablespoons of medium-dry sherry. Stir in and allow the crab meat to get hot, then serve.