Recipe: Shrimp Bisque

After chatting with Heather Vaughan for last week's Chef Chat, she was kind enough to pass along her recipe for Shrimp Bisque. A rich and creamy base provides the perfect backdrop for a ton of plump shrimp. This is an abbreviated (but still delicious) version that is friendlier to the home cook who is looking for a dish to impress.

The recipe, after the jump.

Shrimp Bisque

  • 1 pound medium (31/40) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (shrimp heads, shells and tails reserved)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 cups seafood stock (Recommend: Kitchen basics)
  • 1 Large carrot
  • 1 Rib celery
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Large yellow onion
  • 2 Shallots
  • I cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup White wine
  • ½ Cognac or sherry
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste (use best available)
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 7 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil - to drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon -chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme - chopped
  • White pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish

Add 2 cloves roughly chopped garlic to a medium sauce pan and sauté 1 min. Add the shrimp shells, heads and tails, and stir until thoroughly pink. Add the white wine and reduce by about half - about 2 min.

Add the bay leaf and peppercorns, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Taste to check - it should be rich but not overpowering. Skim any foam that develops.

Drain the stock into a separate container through a fine-mesh strainer. Press on the solids with a spoon to squeeze out any residual liquid, and then discard the solids. Finely chop the shallots, onion, leek, carrot, celery and remaining garlic. Salt and pepper the chopped vegetables.

In a separate pan, melt ½ tablespoon butter with a drizzle of oil. Sauté the carrots over medium heat for about 3 min, then add the shallots, onion, celery and leek until the mixture is softened. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.

Add the tomato paste, tarragon and thyme and blend well. Allow the mixture to cook gently over medium-low heat for an additional 3 min, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from heat and add the cognac. Return to medium-low heat and reduce until the cognac is highly concentrated, 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Create a roux. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large pot or saucepan, over medium heat. When the butter is fully melted and foam is starting to dissipate, add all of the flour in a single batch. Whisk very rapidly to distribute. Continue whisking (do not stop!) over medium heat until the roux takes on a blonde to light-brown shade, about 2 or 3 min. It should have the consistency of a runny paste.

Reduce to low heat. Add the cream gradually to the roux, whisking continuously.

Immediately add the vegetable mixture to the roux. Mix thoroughly, then gradually add the strained stock. Whisk very rapidly while adding the liquid (or use an electric hand mixer), to prevent lumps from forming. Let simmer 10 minutes.

Puree the mixture until smooth.

Return the puree to the pot and heat over low temperature, stirring occasionally. Add the raw peeled, de-veined shrimp (chopped if desired). (Ensure that there are not too many shrimp; they should be covered with plenty of excess bisque). Turn off the heat. Allow to rest for about 5 min to allow the shrimp to cook gently in the heat of the broth. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives and serve.

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