Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Barefoot Shrimp Bisque

Who doesn’t love a good bisque, especially when the weather turns cold? Bisques are soups made of cream and pureed seafood, often lobster or shrimp. Evidently, an authentic bisque uses crustacean shells that are “ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.” No offense to the purists out there, but I’m quite content without any ground shells in my soup. This shrimp bisque is so flavorful, I don’t think you’d miss the shells!

For this
Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection, chosen by Jennifer of Our Blessed Home, I used chicken stock instead of seafood stock, (simply because that’s what I had in my pantry). The pot of leeks, shrimp, Cognac, and sherry offered an irresistible and rich, lovely fragrance. Once all the elements of the pureed shrimp, half-and-half mixture, and simmered stock were combined, this classic soup was perfectly seasoned. This was a delicious and elegant dinner soup that we’ll enjoy again and again.

Shrimp Bisque, Barefoot Contessa at Home

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
4 cups seafood stock
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
Pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
¼ cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
⅓ cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 ¾ cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.


  1. Nice picture, I found seafood stock at Whole Foods.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the soup even with a different stock. Sometimes it's just to just use what we have.