Shrimp bisque is a staple in many 4-star seafood restaurants. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home and doesn’t require any fancy exotic ingredients. A true bisque is smooth and creamy, but we like some chunks to sink our teeth into. So, along with shrimp in the bisque itself, I add some whole shrimp for tooth appeal. You can easily puree the entire batch, if you wish. We enjoy it in an edible bread bowl, and when I add a side salad, it’s a meal in and of itself. Shrimp bisque is quite rich and filling.
This bisque doesn’t take long to make, but if you want to cut the time even more, check out my shortcut notes below.
Easy Shrimp Bisque Recipe
4 small round 4- to 5-inch artisan bread rolls
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely-diced sweet onions
1 medium stalk celery, fine-diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and fine-diced
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning blend (such as Old Bay)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh dill weed leaves or 1 teaspoon dried dill, plus additional for garnish
Slice 1 inch off the top of the bread rolls. Cut out the center, reserving the innards, to form a bowl. Leave 1/2-inch rim around the bottom and sides of the bread bowl.
Cut the bread innards and lid into 1/2-inch cubes to make croutons. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Stir-fry until lightly golden. Set the croutons aside for plating later.
Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. Chop half of the raw shrimp into 1/2-inch chunks. Leave the rest whole. Set aside.
Put the reserved shells in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the broth into a 2-cup measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup. Add the clam juice or seafood broth to make 2 cups. Set aside.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in an 8-quart pot or Dutch oven. Gently saute the onions, celery, and carrots until the onions are softened and translucent, but not browned. Add pressed garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly add the shrimp broth mixture while stirring and cook until it begins to thicken. Add the heavy cream, continuing to stir until the soup comes to a simmer. Stir in the seafood seasoning blend, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer until the vegetables are soft. Add the chopped shrimp and continue simmer just until the shrimp turns pink. Do not boil.
Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (Alternatively, pour the soup into a heavy-duty blender to puree, but be careful of the hot splatters. You may need to do this in batches in a blender.) Once the soup is pureed, add the remaining peeled, whole shrimp, along with the fresh dill, and return to a simmer. Cook only until the shrimp turn pink. (Overcooking the shrimp will make them tough and chewy.)
Ladle into bread bowls. Top with the croutons and dill sprig to serve.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• You can skip the bread bowls and serve with store-bought croutons, oyster crackers or saltines.
• Skip the cooking of the shrimp shells and use a combined total of 2 cups seafood/clam broth along with the cream. You may also reduce the cream to 1 cup and use 3 cups of seafood/clam broth, but it will not be as rich and creamy.
• Skip the puree step and leave the soup chunky. It will be more like a chowder.
Easy Shrimp Bisque Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone