Crab Chili

A friend of ours is having a chili competition, and she wants to try something out of the ordinary. This friend in turn heard about a chili that contained crab meat in place of beef. We wanted to help out, so we decided to try our hand at this idea. Since there was a nautical theme, we decided “navy” beans were a must. We took a basic recipe from Legal Seafood Restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, and made substantial modifications.


1 lb. navy beans

1 lb. Great Northern beans

1/4 cup light olive oil

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

6 oz. coarsely chopped celery

4 oz. grated carrot

4 oz. yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 4-oz. cans of diced green chili peppers

1 Tbsp minced garlic

3 Tbsp ground cumin

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cloves

1 ham hock (about 1 lb.)

2-3 quarts chicken stock

12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

24 oz. light sour cream

18 oz. canned crab meat (3 standard cans), drained

1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled


1. Wash and rinse the dried beans thoroughly. Place in large bowl and submerge under three inches of water. Leavebeans in bowl overnight to absorb water and soften.

2. Heat olive oil in large (2-gallon capacity) stockpot. Add onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, chilies, and garlic. Saute until soft. Add cumin, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, oregano, cayenne, and cloves. Salt to taste.

3. Add drained beans, ham hock and 2 quarts of chicken stock to the mixture and cook on low heat until the beans are soft, about 3-4 hours. Add additional chicken stock as needed to keep the mixture moist, but not soup consistency.

4. Remove ham hock and slice the choice pieces of ham from that bone; return to the mixture. Add sour cream and crab meat, stirring well after adding each ingredient.

5. Garnish with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and remaining chopped cilantro,

Makes 10-12 servings.

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