the life and times of J T Frey

Baltimore "Crab" Soup

I love Baltimore crab soup: the plethora of vegetables, the spicy hint of Old Bay in the broth. The one thing I've found in many incarnations I've sampled is that the crab really is lost to the rest of the components in the soup. Why add a $30/lb ingredient (complete with bits of shell) that will be masked and overshadowed when boneless, skinless chicken thigh also falls to shreds when cooked long enough — just like the crab typically found in this soup.


  • 5 boneless, skinless chick thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely diced
  • 1 medium red (or orange or yellow) bell pepper, coarsely diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely diced
  • 1 tsp Old Bay (plus approx. 1 tbsp for chicken)
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 4 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, 1 inch segments
  • ½ pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Season the chicken well on all sides with Old Bay.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a hot stock pot over medium heat. Sear the chicken for several minutes on both sides until browned, then remove from the pot and hold. If all the chicken will not fit, do in batches.
  3. Lower to medium-low heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and the onion, peppers, carrots, celery, and 1 tsp of Old Bay. Sweat the vegetables until very soft (10 to 15 minutes).
  4. Add the chicken and beef stock into the pot, as well as the worchestershire, green beans, and tomatoes. Bring the pot to a simmer.
  5. Cover the browned chicken thighs in the broth then simmer uncovered for 1 hour or until reduced slightly.
  6. Add the corn and peas, then put a lid on the pot and continue to simmer another 1 to 2 hours, until the chicken falls to shreds.
  7. Season to taste with salt and additional Old Bay (on the order of 2 tsp salt depending on how salty your stock was, and 1 tsp Old Bay).

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with olive-oiled, grilled slices of sourdough or ciabatta bread.

Written by Jeff Frey on Tuesday March 13, 2018
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