Red Pepper Soup with Special Event Crab Legs

Red Pepper Soup with Crab

Yes, this Red Pepper Soup with Crab Legs is a special event. It’s food you make when you want to celebrate.

Which isn’t to say that it’s full of cream, or bacon fat or even chocolate. Foods that are full of cream, bacon fat, and chocolate are certainly special foods. They’re special because you’d be hard-pressed to maintain a svelte profile when you eat foods that are full of cream, bacon fat, and chocolate everyday.

This Red Pepper Soup is special, but not because of its calorie count. It’s actually quite healthful. It’s got 1/2‑cup of yogurt in it, but other than that it’s pure veg, puréed to perfection.

What makes this Red Pepper Soup transcend from delicious and healthful to special event food is its very special crab garnish.

Has this ever happened to you? I needed crab for a special event “big birthday” soup. I went the “good market”–the market where I knew I would find “good crab” from Alaska. Snow Crab is one of those products that you have to be careful buying. There are countries whose harvesting techniques can make Snow Crab a “don’t buy” in my book.

I had envisioned this Red Pepper Soup with a whole crab leg adorning each bowl like a red garland highlighting the sweetheart neckline of a sexy silk gown. So I got in my car and I went to the “good market”. However once I got there I was a bit disappointed. Sure they had crab legs. But they were cut into 4 or 5‑inch lengths and looked at bit dour to me. They just didn’t have the elegance my couture soup required.

So I asked the guy at the counter if he had any whole legs. He said he did (whew). So I, without thinking, said, “Great, I’ll take 8 legs”.

He went in the back and he brought them out. My first shock was how big they were. Each leg had to be 2 feel long. I sorta panicked. I should have told the guy to hold it right there. I should have turned my attention to the pre-cut legs and been satisfied with the short and stocky versions I saw iced in the counter in front of me. But no. I had the idea that I wanted to serve this Red Pepper Soup with a single gorgeously tapered leg per person. If I took the long legs I could trim them down once I got home to perfectly suit the bowls I planned to serve the soup in. So I let the guy struggle with wrapping 8 beautiful whole crab legs.

I then let him weigh the legs. I nearly choked. These 8 crab legs came to $170.00. I intended the crab to be a garnish. Did I really want to spend $170.00 on a garnish? Not really. But the other problem with the “good market” is this. It’s populated with people who don’t blink at spending $170.00 on Crab Legs. In fact Geena Davis was in the Bakery at that very moment spending $85.00 for rugelach. So I swallowed hard and said, “thank you”. I then got in line and paid $170.00 for the most delicious crab garnish you can imagine. It made my soup (and the dinner) the special event I’d hoped it would be. I just hope next time I can get Geena Davis to pay. GREG

Red Pepper Soup with CrabRed Bell PeppersCrab Legs

The bell pepper and crab leg photographs appears courtesy of an editorial partnership with Shutterstock.

Red Pepper Soup with Crab, Avocado and Lime 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Published

I prefer to let guests remove the meat from their crab legs at the table by providing crab crackers and small forks. But you could do this in the kitchen if you prefer, or serve the soup with lump crab meat.

Red Pepper Soup with Crab, Avocado and Lime


  • 8 red bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 leek white and light green parts thinly sliced and well rinsed in a colander)
  • 5 gloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 2 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 sachet (consisting of 1 bay leaf, 5 sprigs thyme, and 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns tied up in a cheesecloth bundle)
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon minced chives
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 ripe avocados (peeled, seeded and cut into ½‑inch dice)
  • 1 lime (zest only, as garnish)
  • 6–8 steamed crab legs (substitute lump crab meat if you prefer)
  • 8 lime wedges


Stem and seed two of the bell peppers, then roughly chop them. Set aside.

Char the remaining six bell peppers by laying them, one at a time, directly over gas flame, turning occasionally until blackened on all sides. Place them in a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, set aside until cool; rub off the blackened skin, remove stems and seeds, then roughly chop the peppers. Set aside separate from the chopped raw peppers. You may alternatively use a broiler to char the peppers. 

Add olive oil to a large stock pot set over low heat. Once the oil gets warm (not hot) add the chopped raw peppers, celery, onion, leek, and garlic. Allow them to gently cook in the oil, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Once they are very soft, but not yet browned, de-glaze the pan with the brandy, stirring until the brandy is nearly evaporated. Add the vegetable stock, as well as the sachet of herbs. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove from heat. 

Using an immersion blender puree the mixture until very smooth. You may alternatively use a blender, working carefully in batches. 

Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve; discard the solids.

Add the reserved chopped charred peppers, yogurt, chives and paprika to the strained liquid. Puree the mixture until nearly smooth with flecks of green chive and red pepper; season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Gently reheat the soup if serving warm, or refrigerate until chilled if serving cold.

Pour about 1‑cup red pepper soup 8 shallow soup bowls. Divide the avocado evenly between each, garnish with lime zest. Serve with crab legs (or lump crab meat) and lime wedges on the side.