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Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque

This rich bisque is a great way to start off your holiday meal. And remember - a good bisque is built upon a good stock.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes for the shrimp stock, 40 minutes for the bisque
  • Total Time: 1 hour for the stock, 1 hour 15 minutes for the bisque
  • Yield: About 12 servings


  • FOR THE SHRIMP STOCK: (makes about 3 quarts)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium-size lemon, halved
  • 4 quarts water
  • Shrimp shells from 3 pounds medium-size shrimp (reserved)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 3 quarts shrimp stock
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 pounds medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (shells reserved for stock)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • MAKE THE STOCK: In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon halves over the pot and add the lemon shells. Add the water, shrimp shells, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the stock. Set aside.

  • MAKE THE BISQUE: In a large, heavy Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes. Add the herbs, tomato paste, and brandy and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.

  • Make the beurre manié by combining the softened butter and flour in a small bowl and kneading it with your fingers until you have a smooth paste. Add the mixture a tablespoon at a time to the pot, whisking after each addition. Cook for 5 minutes, then slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Add the shrimp and stir to mix. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and parsley. Ladle into soup bowls to serve.