I love making hearty soups and it's been fun going through some of the old cookbooks and finding different recipes. Here's some Crab soups. A different variation on seafood soups.
Boil a quart of milk, and thicken it with a table-spoon of flour, rolled in butter, pepper and salt. Boil and pick 8 crabs, and when the milk comes to a boil put in the crabs. Just before serving, stir in a cup of cream. Let the soup boil for 20 minutes after adding the crabs.
Source: The Queen of the Kitchen ©1874
Open and cleanse of the deadmen's fingers and sand, 18 young fat crabs, (raw), cut them into 4 parts and extract the meat from the crabs and the fat from the top of the shells; scald and skin 12 fine, ripe tomatoes; squeeze the pulp from the seeds and juice; chop fine; pour boiling water over seed and juice, and after straining it off, use to make the soup, adding more water, if required; stew in soup pot, one large onion and one clove of garlic in one spoonful of butter and two of lard; then put in tomatoes; after stewing a few minutes, add the meat from the claws, then the crabs, and lastly, the fat from the top shells; sift over it grated bread or crackers; season with salt, pepper, (black or cayenne) parsley, sweet marjoram, thyme, half teaspoonful of lemon juice and the peel of a lemon; pour in water in which seeds were scalded, and boil moderately for one hour. Firm and flaky fish prepared in the same way, make delicious soup. I use twelve good sized crabs, and think more lemon juice an improvement.
Source: The Creole Cookery Book ©1885
Three pints of milk to one dozen crabs, 3 pound ofbutter, in about a tablespoonful of flour. Let the milk boil, put in the crabs, picked, then the butter and flour. Season with pepper and salt If the crabs are large and fat, it will take two quarts of milk.
Source: 265 Choice Recipes ©1883
Pour large crabs, carefully picked in as large flakes as possible. The fat from the backs laid aside to mix with the butter. One quart of new milk, a "grate" or two of nutmeg, mace, a tea-spoonful of butter, salt, black and cayenne pepper. Mix the fat from the backs with the butter, and stir in. Simmer twenty minutes.
Cream is always an improvement, stirred in just before serving.
Three quarts of milk make a large tureen.
Boil one quart of milk, a small part of an onion, and a little parsley cut fine; then add the picked meat of six crabs. Boil five minutes. Rub a table-spoonful of flour with the same of butter; soften with the hot milk, and add half a pint of cream, one egg beaten up, salt and cayenne pepper. Boil for one moment before serving.
White Crab Soup.
Six crabs to a gallon of water. Crack the legs and the fins and put them in the water, with the fat from the backs. Season to your taste. While the above is boiling—say about an hour and a half—pick a plateful of the crabs, and, after draining off the water from the legs "and fins, put it back in the pot with the prepared crabs, and let it boil a full half hour. Pour a half pint of milk in the tureen, and serve.
Seasoning: A slice of fresh middling, pepper, and, if you like it, a little onion, quarter of a pound of butter, a small table-spoonful of flour rubbed in the butter.
Source: Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen ©1881