Partan bree by Shirley Spear

11 September 2006
Partan bree by Shirley Spear


(serves ten)

For the crab stock
100g butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bulb fennel, sliced
Celery leaves, sprigs of parsley, fresh fennel and chervil, all with plenty of stalk
2 bay leaves
½ lemon, sliced
A few white peppercorns
Shells from four large brown crabs (about 1kg brown and white meat)
3tbs brandy

For the soup 4 medium onions
110g butter
110g long-grain white rice, washed
Rind of two large lemons, finely grated
Sea salt and white pepper
1.5 litres crab stock
300ml double cream
300ml milk
Juice of one lemon
2tbs tomato concassé
½ tsp paprika
150ml Madeira
1kg mixed crab meat
2tbs freshly chopped parsley, fennel and chervil


To make the crab stock, melt the butter until hot and foamy. Soften all the vegetables and herbs. Add bay leaves, lemon and peppercorns. Add the shells, a few at a time, breaking them up with the end of a rolling pin. Mix well. Flame with brandy. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Strain again through a fine sieve.

For the soup, soften the onion in butter. Add rice and stir well with rind of lemon, salt and pepper. Pour in the crab stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins. Liquidise, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat through, check seasoning and serve.

Shirley Spear

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