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Chef Gavin Stephenson's Pernod Peppered Crab Stuffing

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Dungeness Crab season is in full swing and this delicious seafood treat is becoming a staple in a lot of Pacific Northwest homes for the holiday season.
Crab can be intimidating to the home cook, as you don’t see it often and when you do, it is so tough to prepare correctly. My insider tip to the home cook is to crack the shell BEFORE steaming or boiling. If you crack and remove the top shell, as well as remove the guts and gills prior to cooking, you will have a more evenly prepared crab. Too often, the home cook isn’t sure how long to prepare and overcooks the crab, having no idea what is going on under that shell!

I am going to share with you two staple recipes in my family cookbook. First is my Pernod Peppered Crab. Then, to make this an even more delicious and fun holiday dish, use the prepared crab in my Cornbread Stuffing recipe!

  • Pernod Peppered Crab
  • 2 gallons salt water (if not salt water, add 2oz sea salt to 2 gallons of water)
  • 3 whole crabs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 22 black peppercorns
  • 1tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ cup Pernod liquor

Bring all ingredients but the crab to a rolling boil. Crack top shell of crab, remove shell, gills and all guts. Put cleaned crab in pot and boil for 16 minutes.

Dungeness Crab DRESSING
Yield: 1 batch

  • Meat of 3 crabs
  • 2 c Water
  • ½ lb butter
  • 3 c Onions; chopped, in all
  • 2 c Celery; chopped, in all
  • 2 c Bell peppers,green;chopped -divided
  • ½ tb Garlic; minced
  • ½ ts Garlic; minced
  • 1 c Scallion; chopped, (tops only)
  • 1 c Parsley, fresh; chopped very fine
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 3 c cornbread, cubed
  • 2 tb Butter, sweet

-----------------------SEASONING MIX-----------------------

  • 1 ts Salt
  • 1 ts Garlic powder
  • 1 ts Cayenne pepper
  • 1 ts Sweet paprika
  • 1 ts Black pepper
  • ½ ts Onion powder
  • ½ ts Dried oregano leaves
  • ½ ts Dried thyme leaves

In a medium size bowl, combine the seasoning mix
ingredients; mix well. Set aside.

Place 1/2 stick plus 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a
heavy 8-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven over high
heat. When butter is half melted, add 1.5 cups of
the onions, 1 cup of the celery, and 1 cup of the
bell peppers; saute until onions are well browned,
about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1.5
tablespoons of the seasoning mix and the garlic.
Reduce heat to low and cook about 4 minutes, stirring
and scraping pan bottom occasionally. Add the
remaining butter, 1.5 cups onions, 1 cup
celery and 1 cup bell peppers, ½ cup of the green
onions, ½ cup of the parsley, and the bay leaves. Turn
heat to high, stirring until butter is melted; cook
until vegetables are tender but still a little
crunchy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now stir in the 2 cups water and cook
about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the
remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon seasoning mix
and enough cornbread (start with 2 cups, but you
may need a little more) to make a fairly moist but not
runny stuffing. Remove from heat.

Stir crab meat into the stuffing.
Spoon stuffing into an ungreased 15x11-inch baking pan
(preferably not a non-stick type) and bake uncovered
in a 350 F oven until well browned, about 1 hour,
stirring only after a dark crust builds (30 to 45
minutes). Then remove from oven and stir thoroughly
but gently, scraping browned parts from pan bottom and sides into the
mixture. Discard bay leaves.

Add the butter and the remaining ½ cup green onions
and ½ cup parsley, stirring well. Serve as desired.

NOTE: Be certain to let the dressing cool, then
refrigerate it and chill it well before using it to
stuff fowl.


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