Entering the winners circle with Dan Paul

Laura Hall
Dan Paul has the winning recipe when it comes to Cream of Crab soup.

Walking away wearing the crown for winning the soup cook off at the Kelly Plantation Dining Club is Dan Paul of Old Bayou Trail. I love the taste of this smooth soup filled with delicious aromas of crab that tickle your nose buds before it even gets to the mouth. I talk with Dan to get some additional information about his Cream of Crab Soup.

Dan tells me that he and wife, Maryann, used to go to progressive dinners when they were living in Pennsylvania 30 years ago.  “It was here that I first encountered the taste of this soup. I asked for the recipe and through the years have made it my own with various tweaks, turns and tastings. Wherever we go, the recipe goes, and I have shared it with many friends and neighbors. We have spent 24 years in York, Pennsylvania, four years in Dallas, Texas and now five years in Kelly Plantation here in Destin.”

“This has become a holiday tradition in our family and has now passed on to the next generation as our son-in-law makes it when we visit them in Pennsylvania for the holidays. It’s embarrassingly simple and I say this because you don’t spend all day in the kitchen fixing this thing but the results speak for themselves.”

Dan gave me some insider scoop on what he felt propelled this soup to the top of the winner’s list. 

“When you purchase the crab, get the best you can find.” 

For Dan this is the lump crab. Expensive, but worth it and found at The Fresh Market. Dan says, “When I use Old Bay Seasoning, I do it twice. Once at the beginning and then again about one hour before serving.” 

To make this winning soup even better Dan assures me that making it the day before and letting the flavors mix and mingle overnight will enhance the intriguing composition of crab and potato.

Laura Hall is a freelance reporter and longtime Destin resident.  Have an interesting topic, contact her at

Want to make Dan’s Cream of Crab Soup?


2 lbs lump crab meat, rinse and drain.  Do not use claw crab meat

1 lb imitation crab meat, rinse and drain, cut into bite size pieces

5 cans Campbell’s Cream of Potato Soup

2 soup cans of Half & Half

3 soup cans of milk

1 stick margarine

Old Bay Seasoning - to taste

Black pepper - to taste


In a large crockpot pour in five cans of Campbell’s Cream of Potato soup.  Using the soup can, add two cans of half and half, three cans of milk (I use 1 percent), two cans of water and one stick of margarine.  Add the lump crab meat and the imitation crab meat along with two to three heaping tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste) and black pepper to taste.

Cover the crockpot and cook on low for five to six hours; stirring occasionally.  Add additional Old Bay Seasoning (to taste) one hour prior to serving.

Serves 14 eight ounce bowls.