Greek Yogurt Substitute Experiment: “She” Crab Soup Charleston Style

My most recent trip to the grocery store resulted in a major splurge: a $30 tub of delicious, fresh lump crab meat. I love seafood, especially crab. When my father was stationed at Cherry Point, we often went out crabbing on the Neuse River.  Just toss in a raw chicken leg and you’re set! Now, with how much my family chows down on those little Crustaceans, can you believe the first time I had She Crab Soup was as an adult? I was at the beach and man was it delicious! The silky bisque base and the buttery, sweet lumps of crab meat and a splash of sherry. It’s my absolute favorite crab dish. Of course the soup comes with a price and I’m not talking about the expensive meat. I’m talking about all the heavy cream and butter that make this dish oh so rich. What’s a girl to do when it’s high bikini season?

Well, other than run a marathon to burn off the calories, she can try to make some smart substitutes. Remember this Chobani substitution chart (right) from a post Emilie wrote about a year ago when she did the chocolate chip cookie recipe subbing some of the butter with Greek Yogurt? Chobani actually posts a different chart now, so I’m glad Emilie found this when she did, because the new version (below left) doesn’t have anything about substituting heavy cream! I’m guessing that is because Greek yogurt can curdle at high temperatures, such as in a soup or a baked casserole  like dish, so it probably wasn’t taking off as nicely as the other substitution suggestions. It does work, though!  At least for creamy soups it does, I haven’t tried a casserole yet. You just need to be careful and in my case have a [stick] blender to break that curdling down!  Let me tell you the savings a little patience and elbow grease will get you.

The above chart says that when you use a cup of heavy cream to substitute half of it with Greek yogurt. I used a different ratio for my soup. I replaced 3/4 of the heavy cream with yogurt. It got scary for a bit when I noticed little “lumps” of yogurt in the pot.  No, no, nooooo! I already had my stick blender out from pureeing the vegetables in the stock so I desperately gave it a whirl. Hurray! It worked! I blended the curdling yogurt into the broth creating a wonderfully silky base.

Ready for the crazy calorie savings? By using the Greek yogurt, I cut just over 500 calories from the total recipe.  That’s 125 calories per serving.  Not to mention the major, major slash in fat. O…M…G! I kid you not, the soup tasted just as delicious as the “real” thing.  This is definitely going down as one of my most favorite food experiments ever! Enjoy!

Charleston Style “She” Crab Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups fish stock (can substitute chicken stock)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • ¼ cup dry sherry wine
  • ¾  cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (chopped parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, etc.)
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and bay leaf. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. 
  2. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir until dissolved.
  3. Slowly whisk in fish stock, stirring constantly to prevent flour. clumps from forming. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf. Stir in milk, cream, Greek yogurt, and Worcestershire sauce
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until the soup is smooth and creamy. This will also help smooth out the clumps the Greek yogurt may form after hitting the hot liquid.  *** If you do not have an immersion blender, allow stock and vegetables to cool then puree in batches using a blender. Return soup base to pot afterwards. Let simmer 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add sherry and crab meat to soup and simmer another 2-3 minutes until crab meat is warmed through.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve garnished with freshly chopped herbs.

~Ruth

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2 responses to “Greek Yogurt Substitute Experiment: “She” Crab Soup Charleston Style

  1. Ruth…your experiment sounds like a total success to me. I used to have a little booklet on using yogurt in place of various fats but lost it in a move. I like the little tang the yogurt gives to many dishes as well.

    • Hi, Karen! Oh it was a definitely success, I’m very happy :-). Too bad the booklet is lost. It would have been interesting to see what other little secrets we could have “discovered”.

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