This recipe is wonderful as an item on a buffet, as an appetizer, or as main dish. Chicken can be substituted for crab if desired. It is fabulous either way. If using crab, try to get real crabmeat. I know it is spendy, but mmmm... worth every penny. I have never used imitation in this recipe, but I have sure thought about it. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! This dish goes well with rice or noodles.
INGREDIENTS8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 1/2 cup minced shallots 10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup dry Madeira or sherry 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 3 cups fish broth or chicken stock 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 bay leaf 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup half-and-half 3 tablespoons cognac 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (or to taste) 3 pounds crab meat, or skinned and boned chicken breast cooked, and cut into slivers Paprika to garnish
In a 12 inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderately high heat. Add the shallots and stir for about 2 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or untill all the juices have evaporated. Add the Madeira and boil for 1 minute
In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Add the flour and stir for 3 minutes or until a smooth paste has formed. Add the stock, tomato paste, bay leaf, and mushroom mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to moderately low, and cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth-2 to 3 minutes Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and half-and-half. Bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the cognac and mustard; add more salt and pepper if desired. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
(*Tip...At this point the sauce can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Gently fold the crabmeat into the sauce, and cook over moderately low heat until warmed through- about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with paprika.
A smooth Pinot Gris is what I like to have with this dish, although my favorite Chardonney is great too!