Sunday Dinner Series: classic shrimp bisque

classic shrimp bisque

Peeling the shrimp can be tedious, but in this instance, the effort is completely worth it. This is a classic version of bisque, gaining its deep flavor from a broth made of shrimp shells, hints of sherry, and orange zest.

  • 1 pound large shrimp (approximately 20 shrimp), peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 4 strips orange zest

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups low-sodium (or homemade) vegetable stock

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed well and roughly chopped

  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  1. In a large saucepan, add shrimp shells, bay leaf, orange zest, water, and stock. Cook over medium heat, about 10-15 minutes. Strain and reserve stock.

  2. In another large saucepan, heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add leeks and shallots, cook until softened, about 7-10 minutes, and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cayenne and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add sherry and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor (in batches if necessary) and process a few times until puréed but mixture still has some texture (see cook’s note).

  3. In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate flour and scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Add cream and whisk until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add reserved stock and tomato paste and stir to combine. Stir in shrimp mixture from food processor and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

cook’s note: I like to keep the texture of the shrimp in this soup, but if you prefer the bisque to be completely smooth, simply purée the mixture to your desired texture.

Serves 4.

Recipe reprinted with permission by Union Park Press.


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