Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reduced Calorie Crab & Corn Bisque

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes. And one of the first "cajun" dishes I ever attempted cooking. However, it was certainly NOT "healthed-up" the first time I made it. I don't even want to attempt to fathom the calories that were in that version. So, I've tweaked it over the years, and now it's equally delicious, but much lower in fat (thanks to the many Lower Fat versions of ingredients that are currently available).

Please note that this recipe calls for imitation crab meat...yes, the real stuff is infinitely fabulous, however, a) most of us don't have ready access to fresh crab, b) the frozen real stuff is rather pricey, compared to it's surimi counterpart, and c) the imitation stuff is quite good for you! I will issue fair warning--I use Louis Kemp Crab Delights, and it doesn't flake extremely well when you're breaking it apart for the soup. In fact, it looks a little like noodles. But delicious crab-esque noodles in a rich & creamy soup. So it's all good. :)

This recipe will make 8-10 servings; each serving is less than 300 calories, and approximately 6g of fat. And if you're living just about anywhere other than Louisiana right now, you're probably experiencing this same wicked El Nino winter we are here in Missouri, so it should go without saying (but I'll say it anyway, because I'm obnoxious like that) that this makes a fabulous winter meal alternative to chili or your other winter staples.


Is your mouth watering? It should be. ;)

2 medium onions chopped
2 tbs. olive oil (Extra Virgin)
1/4 large red bell pepper chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 - 16oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
8oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (or you can use canned sliced mushrooms, undrained)
1 - 16oz. can Italian style tomatoes coarsely diced
1 tsp. sugar
1 - 10 3/4oz. can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 - 16oz. can cream style corn
1 lb. Louis Kemp Crab Delights imitation crab, flaked
1 tsp. dried and crushed sweet basil
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
4 tsp cajun seasoning (as usual, I have to throw in my plug for Fontenot & A Half right here. It's lower sodium than most of the cajun seasonings around, and is made by two very good friends of mine down in Louisiana, so it's about as authentic as you can get. And it's now available for purchase online!)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 - tsp. liquid crab boil (not dried)
1 cup fat free Half-N-Half cream
2 tbs. fresh parsley chopped
1/2 lb. light Velveeta
Salt and Pepper to taste
Thinly sliced green onion tops
Your favorite crackers (I get the "Buttery Smooth" club-style crackers)

In a 6 - quart dutch oven (or your largest pot), over medium heat, heat the olive oil, then sauté the onion until transparent. Add bell pepper and celery, sauté until just tender. (I use red bell pepper for the added color, and because for some reason, right now they're the same price as green bells). Season vegetables with a pinch of salt & pepper as they saute.

Stir in the whole kernel corn, mushrooms, tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add mushroom soup, cream style corn and half of the crab meat mixing well after each addition.

Add the sweet basil, bay leaves, thyme, garlic powder, 2 tsp of the cajun seasoning, and the liquid crab boil.

Lower heat to medium and cook 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Turn heat to low and blend in the Half-N-Half, parsley and remaining crab meat. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaves (because they're nearly impossible to find in the pot if you do it after you add the Velveeta), then stir in cheese until melted. (I cube up the Velveeta in order to speed up the melting.)

Season to taste with more cajun seasoning, salt, & pepper. Serve nice-n-warm, garnished with green onions. BE SURE TO SERVE WITH CRACKERS, as this is a very rich dish; the crackers help balance everything out nicely.

Nutritional Info:
* Calories: 279.7
* Total Fat: 6.0 g
* Cholesterol: 11.9 mg
* Total Carbs: 47.5 g
* Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
* Protein: 11.8 g


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