Shrimp Bisque

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Happy New Year everyone!

I served this as the soup course for Christmas Eve but it is so wonderful I will make it again. It uses rice as a thickener and a smaller amount of cream that a lot of recipes. I did make homemade shrimp stock using the shells and added some ready made seafood stock as well. It was wonderful and even good the next day warmed up. I made it earlier in the day and kept it warm in a crock pot until just before serving and added the cream last. This was adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe from June 2011. It serves 6 as soup course.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pound medium shrimp (about 45), peeled, deveined, shells reserved
  • 8 cups water or seafood stock (I used Swansons’s)
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

 PREPARATION

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and 8 cups water or seafood stock. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain, discarding solids. DO AHEAD: Shrimp stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

    Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to same pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very soft, about 20 minutes.

    Remove pot from heat; add brandy. Return pot to heat and stir until almost evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and tomato paste; stir for 1 minute. Add shrimp stock, remaining bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Simmer uncovered until flavors meld and rice is soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve 4 shrimp for garnish and stir remaining shrimp into bisque. Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

    Working in batches, purée bisque in a blender until smooth. Pour through a finemesh strainer set over a clean pot. Discard solids in strainer. Stir in cream and reheat bisque over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne, if desired.

    Mince reserved shrimp and mix with chives in a small bowl. Place 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture in the center of large, shallow soup bowls. Ladle bisque around garnish and serve.

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