Shrimp Bisque

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Shrimp is less expensive and more attainable these days than its popular bisque cousins – crab and lobster. This is a rich and creamy soup with a more subtle flavor. It can be a meal in itself, or can be rounded out with a salad and a nice crusty bread.

Ingredients

For Bisque
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
5 Cups Seafood Stock, see recipe below 
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cups Chopped Leaks, white and light green parts (about 3 leeks)
1.5 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
1/3 Cup Brandy
1/3 Cup Dry Sherry
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
3 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Madeira 
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 
Salt and Pepper to Taste

For Seafood Stock
Reserved Shrimp Shells 
2 Bay Leaves
1 Lemon, cut in 1/2
1 Large Carrot, peeled and cut in to large pieces
2 Ribs Celery, cut into large pieces
1 Medium Onion
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Bouillon powder
2 8 oz. Bottles of Clam Juice
6 Cups Water

Instructions

  1. Peel and devine Shrimp, reserving shells.
  2. Combine all ingredients for seafood stock in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour. Strain solids and reserve resulting stock. Add enough water to make 5 cups if necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, dice shrimp into small pieces, keeping a few whole for garnish.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute until pink and mostly cooked through.
  5. Add leeks to dutch oven. Saute leeks until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes more. Transfer shrimp (except whole shrimp – reserve for garnish in a separate bowl) leeks, garlic and all pan juices to food processor. Use a spatula to get all the pan juices into the food processor bowl.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the seafood stock to the food processor. Pulse until shrimp, leeks and garlic are coarsley pureed. Let rest in food processor bowl and proceed to next step.
  7. Melt butter in dutch oven. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk to form a golden roux.
  8. Add the cream and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened. Stir in the Madeira and cook for another minute. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the remaining stock, tomato paste, Old Bay Seasoning, and Worchestershire sauce.
  9. Heat gently until hot but not boiling.
  10. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  11. Serve hot, garnishing with reserved whole shrimp.

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