4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. minced shallots
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. flour
6 c. seafood stock
1-1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1/3 c. tomato paste
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 to 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen lump crab meat
1/4 c. dry sherry, or dry white wine
1/3 c. minced fresh parsley
In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add shallots and garlic, and sauté until very soft, stirring regularly for 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in flour and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the broth, whisk well with no clumps.Then pour in the remaining broth and whisk again to mix well.
Turn heat up a bit to medium-high and bring it to boil. Then turn heat down to simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and bay leaf, and bring the mixture back to simmering, stirring and scraping the pan bottom occasionally.
Stir in fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, and then very carefully blend the mixture with an immersion blender until very smooth. Stir in paprika and cayenne pepper.
Stir in the crab meat. Cook until about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry and heat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into bowls or mugs and garnish with fresh parsley, plus a sprinkle of smoked paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with oyster crackers or soft rolls.