Partan Bree (Scottish Crab Soup)

Recipes | Soups Serves 6 as an entrée Partan Bree (Scottish Crab Soup)

This hearty soup is a traditional Scottish dish. ‘Partan’ means ‘crab’ and ‘bree’ means ‘gravy’.


⅓ cup long grain rice
600ml milk 
400ml chicken stock 
500g cooked Crab meat (see notes)
2 Anchovy fillets (see notes)
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
150ml cream
Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Sprinkling paprika, to serve
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Place rice and milk in a small saucepan, bring just to the boil, reduce heat and simmer over a low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes, until rice is tender. 

Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil.

Reserve some of the best-looking pieces of Crab meat for garnish. Blend crabmeat, rice, milk and Anchovy fillets in a blender until very smooth. Add blended mixture to stock and combine well using a stick blender. Add cayenne, nutmeg and cream and simmer for a minute or 2. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Serve into warmed bowls and garnish with paprika, parsley and reserved Crab meat.


Pick meat from 2 x 1kg cooked mud crabs or 4 x 350g cooked blue swimmer crabs or 4 x 500g spanner crabs. Alternatively, buy good quality frozen Australian crabmeat such as Ceas (Queensland spanner crabs); check it carefully for any remaining bits of cartilage or shell and drain it well. Be aware that most other frozen crabmeat is imported and can be quite watery when thawed.

If available, use Ortiz brand anchovy fillets as they have a much better flavour and are less salty.

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