Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque


I found this recipe from Bon Appetit, June 2011, and was intrigued that I would be making my own shrimp stock. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of shrimp, the idea of this bisque sounded challenging and delicious.

The recipe was time consuming, but it was fun if you enjoy cooking and learning. The final taste was exciting, and the lemon juice made all the difference. I didn’t have brandy, nor did I want to go get some. Instead, I used equal parts white wine and red wine. With all this, however, I got tired of the taste after a while, but I appreciated making everything from scratch.

It made 6 servings, so try to make it for 4-6 people instead of having a lot of leftovers.


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (about 45), peeled, deveined, shells reserved [I bought large shrimp as they were on sale. It saved a lot of time when I was able to buy them already deveined, but with the shells intact.]
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brandy [I used equal parts white wine and red wine]
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice [I used the juice of 2 medium lemons]
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives [Don't ignore these chives. The taste of them are great with the shrimp.]


  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and 8 cups water. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain, discarding solids. DO AHEAD Shrimp stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to same pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very soft, about 20 minutes.

  • Remove pot from heat; add brandy. Return pot to heat and stir until almost evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and tomato paste; stir for 1 minute. Add shrimp stock, remaining bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and ¼ tsp. cayenne. Simmer uncovered until flavors meld and rice is soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve 4 shrimp for garnish and stir remaining shrimp into bisque. Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

  • Working in batches, purée bisque in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a clean pot. Discard solids in strainer. Stir in cream and reheat bisque over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne, if desired.

  • Mince reserved shrimp and mix with chives in a small bowl. Place 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture in the center of large, shallow soup bowls. Ladle bisque around garnish and serve.