Shrimp Bisque

Classic and elegant Shrimp Bisque ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Shrimp Bisque ~ it’s a little bit romantic, a little bit ladies who lunch, and it definitely has a 20th century vibe ~ but I think this richly flavored soup is ready for a comeback!

Shrimp Bisque is a richly flavored soup that deserves a comback! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Seafood bisques are definitely of the last century, but that doesn’t mean we should let them languish there.  These elegant soups have so much to offer, from their creamy texture and beautiful pale pink color to their supercharged flavors. And while lobster and crab might be too pricey for everyday, shrimp is easy to come by and plentiful.

A bisque is a creamy French shellfish soup, alot like a chowder, but fancier.

Classic and elegant Shrimp Bisque ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

The bones of a good shrimp bisque are always the same no matter what recipe you go with ~ there’s shrimp, of course, aromatic veggies, stock, cream, tomato paste, brandy, sherry, and a bit of spice.  It’s the little extra touches that distinguish one recipe from another, but you don’t want to stray too far from tradition, because that’s what makes this soup a classic.  Here are a few of the ways famous chefs have put their own special spin on it~

  • Emeril uses lots of fresh herbs to distinguish his bisque.
  • Martha actually roasts and purees the shells right into her shrimp bisque ~ I wasn’t expecting that one, but it turns out this is the most authentic way to do it…leave it to Martha!
  • Tyler freshens his up with orange zest.
  • Paula tops her soup with crunchy homemade croutons.

Shrimp stock for Shrimp Bisque made from scratch using shrimp shells ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

This shrimp bisque owes some of its flavor to a from-scratch stock that’s made using the shrimp shells.  The flavor is delicate and the color is beautiful .  The cognac and sherry add that unmistakable restaurant flair to an already luxurious soup.

TIP: Shrimp bisque is rich, so serve it in smaller bowls, a little goes a long way.

Serving up Shrimp Bisque ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

My friend Sandy makes my beautiful soup bowls, read about her and see her work in my American Artisans post.

*This recipe is lightly adapted from Ina. 

Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined, reserve the shells
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    garnish
  • baby shrimp or chopped shrimp
  • thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. First make the stock ~ put 4 cups water in a pot, along with the shrimp shells and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the broth and add water if necessary to make 3 3/4 cups. Set aside.
  2. Slice the leeks and then rinse them thoroughly to remove any grit.
  3. Heat the oil in a soup pot and saute the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the cayenne and the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are cooked, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the cognac and cook for a minute, then the sherry, and cook for 3 more minutes.
  6. Puree the mixture, in 2 batches, in a food processor until it is coarsely pureed. Set aside.
  7. Melt the butter in the same pan and add the flour ~ cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Do not let it brown. Add the half and half and cook over medium heat until it is hot and thickened. Stir or whisk constantly.
  8. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Season to taste, and serve in small bowls, garnished with fried leeks or chopped shrimp and thyme leaves.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/shrimp-bisque-recipe/

Notes:

  • If you love seafood soups, there are lots more out there to try…Lobster Bisque is probably the most luxurious, but I have a soft spot for Crawfish Bisque, too.

     

Don’t forget to pin it!

Shrimp Bisque ~ it's a little bit romantic, a little bit ladies who lunch, and it definitely has a 20th century vibe ~ but I think this richly flavored soup is ready for a comeback! | French | seafood | chowder | appetizer

31 Comments

  • Reply
    cakespy
    April 7, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Freaking love shrimp bisque but have always been intimidated by the idea of making it. You really break it down well here! It certainly came out beautifully. Pinkies out!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2017 at 7:15 am

      Thanks Jessie ~ those shrimp shells really do the trick for the broth, I think that’s the key!

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! I have this memory of lobster bisque that probably goes back to the 80’s it’s been a quest!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 1, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      I know what you mean, those food memories can’t haunt!

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    March 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I haven’t had a good bisque since we moved from New Hampshire. Yours looks and sounds great.

  • Reply
    cheri
    February 23, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    What a delicious looking bisque, we eat a lot of soup but I’ve never ever made one like this, that’s going to quickly change. Love the bowls too, they are beautiful.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Cheri <3

  • Reply
    guy23
    February 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Yum. And yes to some kind of crouton-ish accompaniment, either in the bisque or a side salad. Perfect dinner!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 23, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      I agree, the soup would be great with a crunchy touch!

  • Reply
    Shelly
    February 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Is the 1/2 c tomato paste correct?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 23, 2017 at 11:48 am

      That’s what I used, Shelly, and I found it was needed for getting the color I wanted. The flavor doesn’t dominate.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    February 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    What a delicious, flavorful bisque! With dry sherry and cognac, I know this is a winner!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 23, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Cognac makes everything better!

  • Reply
    Sandy Kreyer
    February 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    This sounds delicious! Thank you so much for including my bowl!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      It’s my pleasure!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I absolutely LOVE those bowls and the bisque sounds fabulous:)

  • Reply
    Penny
    February 22, 2017 at 8:44 am

    We are in Florida for 6 weeks and always eat more seafood while here. Just an association of being near water a guess. I know we would love this. The Farmers’ Market had some beautiful royal red shrimp last Saturday. Will give this recipe a try Sue. Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

      I just got back from Florida, Penny ~ maybe that’s what made me crave this soup!

  • Reply
    Lindsay Cotter
    February 22, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I am in LOVE with your soup bowls!! And this shrimp bisque needs to happen for dinner in my house! Perfect starter for a date night in dinner!

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    February 22, 2017 at 8:10 am

    This looks amazing! I love the soup bowls your friend makes too!

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    February 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I haven’t made a bisque of any description in ages. It’s actually on my list of things to do again. Shrimp bisque might be the best and easiest — good shrimp are everywhere. And frozen ones are of good quality and always in season. Good stuff — thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Yes, you’re right, I hadn’t thought of that, you could use frozen shrimp, but I think the flavor might suffer a little, and how would you make the stock? I thiknk you can freeze shrimp shells when you have them and use them later to make stock, that’s a solution :)

  • Reply
    Cliona Keane
    February 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I don’t know why bisque isn’t on the menu more often, but having read this I’ll be adding it on soon I’m sure! I love the colour and it looks like it’d taste fantastic…now just to train my other half to love seafood as much as I do!

  • Reply
    Brandi Crawford
    February 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Yum! I love seafood bisques and have yet to cook any on my own. Your recipe is divine!

  • Reply
    Jessy @ The Life Jolie
    February 22, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I think this would be the perfect starter for a dinner party! Looks amazing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Yes, and perfect to serve in all those tiny vintage bowls I’m forever collecting from the thrift store!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 22, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I am a bisque lover from way back :) So glad to see you resurrecting it here. It looks absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    February 22, 2017 at 4:36 am

    I would love mine with crunch croutons, please! Beautiful soup bowls, Sue.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    February 22, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for bringing bisque back into the light! I’ve always heard that shrimp shells add a richness to the broth but I’ve never tried making a stock like this. I love the color, the history and all the variations! Sharing and pinning!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2017 at 6:04 am

      Thanks Tricia, I loved making the broth, it was so much quicker than a chicken broth, it just takes minutes, and the color and flavor really come through :)

    Leave a Reply