How to Make Shrimp Bisque
Although lobster bisque is better known than shrimp bisque, it is possible to make this dish with shrimp instead of lobster. The appearance and flavor is not that different, and you only need the shrimp shells, not the shrimp meat. This means if you have used shrimp in another recipe and you are left with the shells, you can use them to make this.
A bisque is a smooth, creamy soup, which features some kind of shellfish. As well as the shrimp shells in this recipe, you will need delicious flavors to enhance the soup such as brandy, lemon juice, cream, herbs, and more. It even contains basmati rice (or plain white rice if you do not have any basmati) to give it a thicker texture.
You will need to tie some parsley, thyme and a bay leaf together and infuse it in the bisque to add flavor. If you do not have kitchen twine you can use unwaxed dental floss, or even a small linen pouch. Serve this shrimp bisque as a warming lunch or as an exquisite appetizer at your next dinner party. This recipe provides six medium to large servings, but you could stretch it to eight or even nine if you make the portions smaller.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 chopped plum tomatoes
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 chopped celery stalk
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 4½ pints water
- Salt, to taste
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup uncooked basmati rice
- 6 cups uncooked shrimp shells
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 chopped carrot
- Cayenne and black pepper, to taste
- 6 cooked medium tail-on shrimp, for garnish
- 6 basil leaves, for garnish
- Melt ¼ cup of butter in a pot over a moderate heat.
- Add the tomatoes, carrots, celery and onion, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until soft.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the rice and shrimp shells.
- Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the shells are deep pink.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Take the mixture off the heat and pour in ½ cup of brandy.
- Put it back over the heat and cook for a minute or 2, or until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.
- Use kitchen twine to tie the thyme, bay leaf, and parsley together, and then add this to the pot.
- Add the salt and water.
- Bring the shrimp bisque to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Take the soup off the heat and let it cool.
- Discard the herb bundle, and then puree the soup in a blender in batches.
- Strain the soup through a sieve into a large pan, and discard the solids.
- Heat it over a moderate heat, then whisk in the rest of the butter, brandy, lemon juice, and cream until smooth.
- Season with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
- Divide the shrimp bisque between 6 bowls and garnish with a shrimp and a basil leaf.
Although sour cream and a few chopped chives make a nice garnish for this shrimp bisque recipe, you can see how adding a shrimp and a basil leaf to each one also gives a beautiful result. This soup is lovely and thick, as you can see, and that is partly because of the basmati rice. The bisque is simmered until the flavors intensify, then blended and sieved, to give it a nice smooth consistency, and also ensuring it is thick enough for the garnishes to sit on the top without sinking through.
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