The flavors in this shrimp bisque are defined and bold. The leeks have a soft onion flavor, the shrimp stands out as the center of attention and the undertones of the sherry complements each spoonful. This bisque is a favorite in my house and for all of our guests who have it with us.
Shrimp Bisque Recipe
Inspired by Ina Garden
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
4 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the shrimp shells and vegetable stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot. 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. 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) The original recipe calls for seafood stock. I don't typically make my own stocks, so I start with vegetable stock for this recipe. If you have seafood stock on hand, feel free to use that.
2) This soup freezes well.