Cooking School

Step-by-step soup recipe: Shrimp Bisque

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

Step-by-step soup recipe: Shrimp Bisque

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
A bisque is an elegant puréed soup featuring seafood and cream. What enriches every spoonful with luscious flavour is the shrimp stock created from the shells.


1-1/2 lb (750 g ) small (size 40/44) raw shrimp
3 tbsp (50 mL) butter
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp/10 mL dried)
1/2 cup (125 mL) sherry, brandy or clam juice
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp (50 mL) long-grain rice
3 tbsp (50 mL) tomato paste
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh chives

Tip: When you peel shrimp for other recipes, freeze the shells. When you have time, simmer them in stock to extract flavour then strain.

Makes 8 to 12 servings
Per each of 12 servings: About 155 cal, 10 g pro, 11 g total fat (6 g sat. fat), 5 g carb, trace fibre, 99 mg chol, 298 mg sodium. % RDI: 4% calcium, 9% iron, 12% vit A, 7% vit C, 2% folate.

Find step-by-step photos for making Shrimp Bisque on the next pages.
Step 1: Peel and devein shrimp; refrigerate shrimp and set shells aside. In Dutch oven, melt half of the butter over medium heat; fry celery, carrots, onion and thyme, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp shells; fry, stirring, until pink, about 2 minutes.Step 2: Add sherry; bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Add 6 cups (1.5 L) water and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pour through fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer into bowl, pressing to extract liquid. Return to Dutch oven.Step 3: Whisk in rice, tomato paste, salt and cayenne pepper; cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Step 4: Meanwhile, in skillet, melt remaining butter over medium-high heat; sauté shrimp until pink and opaque, about 4 minutes.

In blender, purée soup and shrimp, in 4 batches, until smooth. (Make-ahead:  Let cool for 30 minutes; refrigerate, uncovered, in airtight container until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days; reheat to proceed.)

Step 5: Return soup to clean Dutch oven. Whisk in cream and bring to bare simmer over low heat just until heated through but not boiling. Add lemon juice. Ladle bisque into warmed bowls; sprinkle with chives.

Read more:
Don't miss our other seafood soup cooking lesson >> Mediterranean Seafood Soup with Rouille

Originally published as Cooking Class: Shrimp Bisque in our January 2006 issue. Click here to buy this issue now.
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Cooking School

Step-by-step soup recipe: Shrimp Bisque