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Friday, October 26, 2012

Shrimp Bisque

For day 26 of Soup Month 2012, we decided to go with a luxurious bowl of creamy Shrimp Bisque.  This is a great special occasion soup and would be delicious served as a first course for New Year's Eve alongside a perfectly medium-rare Standing Prime Rib Roast.

The secret to a successful bisque lies in the stock.  Making your own stock does take a little extra time, but the depth of flavor you get from a slow-cooked stock is amazing!  For extra seasonings, we added just a touch of old bay to the stock to round out the shrimp, and the tomato paste with garlic adds just a hint of garlic to the background of this soup.  Enjoy!!

2 lbs  medium Shell-On Shrimp (41-50 size)
4 TB  Butter, divided
1 medium  Yellow Onion, diced
2 medium  Carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium Celery Stalk, diced
1/2 tsp  Old Bay Seasoning
2  Bay Leaves
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 TB  Tomato Paste with Garlic
4 cups  Water
4 TB  Flour
3/4 cup  Dry White Wine
1 tsp  Lobster Base
1/4 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup  Heavy Cream

Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells.  Chop the shrimp in half and place in a glass bowl;  refrigerate until needed.

In a large saucepan, melt 1 TB butter over medium-high heat.  When butter begins to simmer, add the onions, carrots, celery, Old Bay, and bay leaves and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the reserved shrimp shells on top of the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir and cover the pot.  Cook for 5 minutes longer, until the shells are pink and vegetables are softened.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the water to the pot and stir to combine.  Bring stock to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Use a colander lined with a paper towel or coffee filter to strain the stock through to filter out the solids, then discard the solids.

Rinse out the saucepan and return to the stove.  Over low heat melt 3 TB butter.  When the butter is melted, add the flour to the butter and blend with a spoon to create a roux.  Keep stirring until mixture is a golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the white wine and lobster base to the pot and stir to combine, then add the reserved stock to the pot.  Bring mixture to a low boil, then add the cayenne and the shrimp to the pot.  Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes or just until the shrimp are pink.  Reduce the heat to low, add the cream to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. 

Serve this soup with crusty french bread or baked clam shells.  Serves 5 - 6 as a main course, or about 8 as a first course. Enjoy!!

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