She Crab Soup Recipe: Flavors of the Gulf at Home

she crab soup recipe

On our Panama City Beach road trip, I was reminded how wonderful she crab soup can taste.  Living in Minnesota, it’s not something we see on the menu very often.  My first taste of she crab soup was at The Bubble Room on Captiva Island in Florida when my daughter was a baby.  Since then, I’ve been ordering it whenever I’m near the gulf.  Like most regional foods I crave when I’m back at home, I set out to try to make it myself.

The version below is pretty close to what I know and love.  It was inspired by Paula Deen’s She Crab Soup Recipe on Foodnetwork.com and The Classic She Crab Soup recipe on Allrecipes.com.  I switched it up by blending it with a stick blender (shown below).  If you use fresh crab meat (vs. the canned kind I used) you may want to omit that step for a chunkier soup.  Note:  NEVER use imitation crab meat in this recipe.  I didn’t want the flaky texture of the canned crab in my soup and opted to blend it to make it creamy.  If you can’t find Louisiana Hot Sauce, you can add heat with a few shakes of Tabasco.

Frugal Tips:   Traditional she-crab soup calls for the roe of the crab, but hard-cooked eggs are a frugal (and more accessible) substitute.

She Crab Soup Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 3 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ C. fish stock
  • 1½ C. milk
  • 1½ C. heavy cream
  • 2 6-oz. cans crabmeat
  • ⅓ C. sherry
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce (or similar)
  • ¾ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp. paprika for garnish

Instructions
  1. With a fork, crumble the eggs yolks. Set aside. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add green onion, celery and garlic, and stir until translucent. Add the flour and cook until it starts to form a paste. Add fish stock, milk, and cream. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Add egg yolks, crab meat, sherry, pepper, hot sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Heat until cheese has entirely melted. With a stick blender, blend until the soup is thick and creamy. Garnish with green onions and a sprinkle of paprika.

 

 

Dee’s Hangout: Great Eats in Panama City Beach, FL

dee's hangout panama city beach

Without Yelp, we probably would have walked right by Dee’s Hangout.  Located in a strip mall, it’s not exactly a high-profile location.  That’s OK.  The tourists can hit Pineapple Willy’s down the block while the true foodies can join me at Dee’s.  We enjoyed it so much the first time, we made it our last stop before heading home to Minnesota.

Both our starters were fantastic.  The she crab soup was out-of-this world, and rivaled one served at the Bubble Room on Captiva  Island (which is also fabulous).  I wanted to lick the bowl when I was done.  The BBQ shrimp was also swimming in flavor.  The sauce, with its Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and butter base was tangy and delicious as well as unique.

My husband ordered the beans and rice.  It’s a simple dish, but since the roux takes a long time to get just right, not one we have too often.  My blackened redfish was also delicious.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the fried mac and cheese balls.  With two kids, mac and cheese is usually the last thing I want to order when eating out – but this doesn’t even compare to the orange stuff in the blue box.

Our server, Kaylee, was outstanding.  Not only was she friendly, she was knowledgeable about the food and the area.  We will definitely be going back, and recommending it to anyone who makes the trip down to PCB.

Frugal Tip:  Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare.  When we did, we got our appetizer for 1/2 off.

Dee’s Hangout

http://www.deeshangout.com/

10440 Front Beach Road
Panama City Beach, Florida 32407
850-249-4264


dee's hangout panama city beach

dee's hangout panama city beach

dee's hangout

 

 

Sally’s Restaurant: Grits, Victorian Dolls, Bear Statues and Jewelry – All Under One Hot Pink Roof!


Sally's Restaurant and Seafood Kitchen

Sally's Restaurant and Seafood Kitchen

Sally’s Restaurant and Seafood Kitchen

The outside of Sally’s Restaurant is warm, pink, and inviting. Kitschy pink decor is everywhere: from the pink walls to the plastic pink cups. The Victorian dolls in the curio cabinet next to the giant bear plaque are an eclectic touch.  Is jewelry your thing?  Not to worry!  You can pick up a heart necklace for just $5 when you check out.

Listening to the locals tell their alligator stories added to the mom and pop vibe of the joint (definitely something we don’t get to experience as Yankees). Even the waitstaff stopped what they were doing to join in the conversation (putting cooking and cleaning temporarily on hold, I might add).   I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant where the entire restaurant participates in one group conversation.  That was definitely a first!  Everyone made us feel very welcome.

Overall, the food was good, tasty and cheap.  Grits were creamy, bacon was crisp. Sally’s is definitely a no-frills place. You’re not going to find eggs benedict or rye bread on the breakfast menu.   My daughter is turning into a bit of a foodie herself, as she noticed the cheese on her omelet was processed, not “real” Cheddar.  I would like to come back sometime and sample the burgers and seafood, as that’s what Yelpers raved about.

Now for the negatives:  The place could be cleaner. Half the tables had dirty plates left on them waiting to be bussed, and my flip-flops stuck to the floor as I walked. Bathroom walls needed a good scrub-down. Note to greasy spoon restaurant owners: If you’re going to decorate with ceiling fans, chandeliers, and artificial flowers– make sure they’re not dusty. Customers like me notice when they are, even if you do not.

Another minus:  All of our four meals arrived at different times.  To me, that’s basic restaurant operation 101.  Two of us had completely finished our meals before the fourth was brought to the table.  My husband commented, “Maybe Sally can only cook one thing at a time.”

Sally’s restaurant is not going to win any food service or culinary awards.  It’s old fashion(ed) in every way (according to their sign pictured below, and I’d have to agree).  However, if you’re looking for a good value on simple food with local color, this is your spot.

Sally’s Restaurant
1594 Hwy 90
Ponce De Leon, FL 32455
(850) 836-4403

sally's seafood kitchen

sally's seafood kitchen

sally's seafood kitchen

sally's seafood kitchen

sally restaurant

Bruce Cafe: Where the Locals Eat

bruce cafe

Bruce Cafe:  Where the Locals Eat

If you want a real mom-and-pop “retro” experience in the south, Bruce Cafe is your place.  We came here on the recommendation of a gentleman we spoke to outside of a gas station.  He told us it’s where all the locals eat, so we were intrigued.  Eating here is like stepping back in time. I suspect this fare would be what any southern Granny would serve up for Sunday dinner. Plus, the inside is filled this kitschy decor likely to be found in Granny’s house (if Granny was into taxidermy and plate collections).

At just $7.50, the Daily Special plus three sides advertised on the table placards is a good value. I had the beef tips and my husband had the chicken and stuffing. Given the choice, I’d recommend the chicken and stuffing. The chicken was tender and the cornbread stuffing was flavorful.   Portions were generous.  While the beef tips were tender, they were bland. Salt and pepper helped a little, but good food shouldn’t require additional seasoning.  All of this was served up by a waitress with the highest blonde hair and brightest blue eyeshadow this side of 1988.

On the downside, I am not so sure Bruce’s would pass any food safety inspections. My daughter swears she saw the waitress reuse the biscuits on the table next to us for new patrons (I can’t make this stuff up, y’all). Plus, the restrooms are outside just past the two Shop Vacs and box of slightly rotten apples. That said, we were glad to have the authentic southern cafe experience, and for us it was worth the risk.

Bruce Cafe
Hwy 20
Ponce de Leon, FL
(860) 835-2936

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe

bruce cafe