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Culinary SOS

Rich Crab Bisque Can Get Meals Off to a Great Start

February 19, 1987|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: I adore the crab bisque from Neiman-Marcus restaurant in Beverly Hills. Would you please print their recipe?

--JOAN

Dear Joan: What a lovely first course, or even main course soup with salad this would make. It's rich in texture and taste.

NEIMAN-MARCUS CRAB BISQUE

3/4 pound snow crab legs

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 medium leek, diced

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons oil, diced

Brandy or dry Sherry

Salt, pepper

2 cups fish stock or canned clam juice

Roux

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 cup half and half

Dash cayenne pepper

Chopped parsley

Split crab legs down middle and remove meat. Reserve large pieces of crab shell. Set meat aside for garnish.

Saute carrot, onion, garlic, celery, leek and tomatoes in oil until vegetables are tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons brandy and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over high heat until deglazed. Add stock and crab shells and bring to rolling boil. Reduce to simmering and continue to cook 1 hour. Strain and discard crab shells and vegetables. Thicken soup with Roux and simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Add tomato paste, half and half, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste and additional brandy, if desired. Simmer 5 minutes and strain. Garnish with crab meat and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Roux

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in flour until pale golden in color.

Dear SOS: I remember having a recipe for a beef stew flamed with brandy, which I would love to have again. Can you oblige?

--HELEN

Dear Helen: Certainly. It's a great dish for a buffet party. Use two chafing dishes--one for the beef, the other for the rice. All you need to round out the menu is a crisp green salad.

BEEF FLAMBE BORDEAUX

2 pounds round steak or sirloin tip

4 slices bacon

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup garlic-flavored wine vinegar

1/2 cup red dinner wine

1/2 cup beef consomme

2 tablespoons flour

10 to 12 tiny white onions, peeled

1 large green pepper, chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup brandy

Hot cooked rice

Cut beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Fry bacon until crisp in large skillet or Dutch oven. Drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan. Add beef in small amounts and brown slowly on all sides.

Combine bay leaf, salt, oregano, pepper, wine vinegar, wine and consomme. Pour over beef. Cover and simmer 1 hour or until beef is almost done.

Thicken gravy with flour mixed with a little water. Add onions. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Add green pepper and mushrooms. Simmer additional 5 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes. Test to see if onions are tender.

Ladle into warmed chafing dish and bring to table. Warm brandy. Pour over meat and carefully set aflame using long-handled match. Stir gently to mix brandy into sauce. Serve over hot rice. Makes 6 servings.

Dear SOS: I lost my favorite recipe for Honey Nut Cake. I tried one in a cookbook but it turned out extremely dry. Do you have a good recipe?

--JENNY

Dear Jenny: This recipe, which we have tested a few times, is typical of honey cakes, which generally are, by nature, dry. However, we hope you enjoy this one. The matzo cake meal is found in most supermarkets or food stores featuring kosher products.

HONEY NUT CAKE

8 eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 pound honey

1/4 cup strong black coffee

1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal

1/2 cup potato starch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat egg yolks and sugar until very thick and lemon colored. Add honey, coffee, matzo, potato starch, cinnamon, cloves and salt, blending thoroughly.

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into egg mixture, then fold in walnuts.

Turn into ungreased 9-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees 1 1/2 hours or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pan and cool thoroughly. Remove from pan and place on serving plate. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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