Chesapeake Crabby “Stuffing”

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Chesapeake Crabby “Stuffing”I’m the guy who eats with his hands only if the food is shielded by a dry starch. Can I get an amen? Burritos and tacos, check. BLT, check. Chinese steamed buns, check. Whenever I’ve been faced with the prospect of sitting at a picnic table, overlooking the bay, and handed a tray of steaming hot ruby-red crabs, a tiny hammer and a bib … Well, I’ll let you imagine my reaction. This “stuffing” is great, but please, for the sake of civilization, serve it with a fork.

  • Yield: 6 to 10 Servings
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 4-oz can roasted green chiles, diced
  • ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz ham, diced
  • 1½ -lb loaf crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 oz crab meat, backfin or lump
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups chicken or seafood broth, cooled
  • ½ cup milk
How to Make It
  1. Place a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining seasonings, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the contents to a large mixing bowl.
  2. To this mixing bowl, stir in the chiles, parsley, ham, and bread cubes. Then, gently fold in crab.
  3. Coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Scrape the bread mixture into the baking dish, making sure to evenly distribute it across the dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg, broth, milk, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Slowly pour the liquid over the mixture in the baking dish, being sure that some of the liquid reaches most, if not all, of the bread. Use a clean hand, the back of a wooden spoon, or spatula, to compress the whole mixture to ensure that the liquid is evenly distributed.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer the baking dish to the refrigerator for one hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator, uncover, and transfer to the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is begins to brown and get crusty. Remove the “stuffing” from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Smothering a healthy scoop of this with gravy is a special treat!

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