2 lb crab, in shells
1 leek, sliced coarsely
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 quart water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 pinch saffron
1 herb bouquet
1 tablespoon safflower or olive oil
4 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoon non-fat powdered milk
4 basil leaves
1 teaspoon tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon chives
1/2 teaspoon cognac or brandy
Remove meat from shells. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat, then add the crab shells and cook them.
Stir slowly but continuously for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and tomato puree and cook another 5 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and bring to a boil for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom to dissolve any coagulated juices. Add the water, bouillon cube, saffron and herb bouquet (1/2 ts thyme, 1/2 bay leaf, 5-6 fresh parsley stems, tied in cheesecloth). Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour.
Pour the stock through a fine strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the vegetables and crab shells with a soup ladle to extract all of the liquid. (For a finer result, strain again through cheesecloth.)
Return the stock to a boil. Moisten the cornstarch in a little cold water, then add it to the saucepan and boil for 4 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated.)
Bring stock to a simmer. Add the crabmeat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and divide among 4 heated soup plates.
Pour the stock into a blender, add the powdered milk and cognac. Blend until smooth and homogeneous. Pour immediately into the soup plates over the crabmeat.
Garnish each dish with an equal amount of the herbs.
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