Barefoot Bloggers: Shrimp Bisque

I suppose that I would be designated a foodie. I love to cook. I can’t buy enough cookbooks. I have a blog about cooking. I also have a website about cooking. But, what is the definition of a foodie? I don’t consider myself a gourmet. I like to prepare REAL meals, with REAL ingredients I can easily find, and not to mention, don’t cost me a fortune. So, I don’t consider myself a gourmet foodie, but a regular-joe (or jane!) foodie.

I joined the Barefoot Bloggers because I really enjoy cooking (and eating) Ina Garten’s recipes. And I admit, despite the number and variety of dishes I make, I have a comfort zone I like to stay in. So when I found out that that my next Barefoot Blogger’s recipe was Shrimp Bisque, I cringed. Really? A bit too froo-froo for me. Plus, I’m not a big soup eater – what should I do?

Luckily, I had a family party coming up. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “Another one?” My parents spent a month here in San Diego and they were leaving. So I put together a little family dinner with husband’s side of the family for a farewell dinner. It was small, just 18 of us. Ha! Ha! And I did have some shrimp in the freezer, bought on sale of course. So why not?

For the seafood stock I used the homemade fish stock my husband and I made with the fish heads and bones he collected from a fishing expedition. Oh yes, I will write about THAT experience another time. The bisque recipe itself isn’t very complicated, no cognac to torch, no fear of egg curdling…. I was beginning to feel ready for this challenge.

But, even I make mistakes.

And I made it early on in the recipe. Like where it says “use leeks, only the white and light green parts.” I used the whole leek. And after I added the shrimp and tomato paste and puréed everything, I realized that my pink bisque had a disgusting puce color to it. I smacked my head and realized my no-duh-moment. I added a little more tomato paste to make it more pink and offered a taste to my soup-expert-hubby. He gave it two strong thumbs up. I was relieved. But, the color was still a little off. I didn’t want the color to scare my guests, so yes, I did the unthinkable. I added a little red food coloring to the soup. I know, in this world that is all-natural and dye-free and organic I used a dab of Wilton’s Christmas Red Food Gel (no flavor) to pink up my shrimp bisque! And my husband now is shaking his head, telling me no one had to know. But, I suppose I want to reassure even the novice cooks that mistakes are easily made, even by those of us considered to be foodies.

But, no one complained about the color. Everyone was bowled-over with this amazing shrimp bisque. My brother-in-law who spends much of the time jet-setting around the world for work, eating in 4-star restaurants, couldn’t stop complimenting me or the bisque. My father, who is also not a huge soup eater, loved the bisque, as did my mother, who is a huge soup eater.

I found the flavor to be spot on, not too shrimpy, not too creamy. Again, having a family of lemon lovers, many added freshly squeezed lemon juice to their soups. What a great, exotic soup to share with everyone. And to top it off, I was able to serve it in my fancy schmancy seafood themed soup tureen that my mother had given to me years ago. Very fitting. I hope Ina approves.

Shrimp Bisque

You'll love this creamy and decadent soup! Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large shrimp (21-25 count)
  • 4 cup seafood stock
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cup leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 4 TBS butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground

Directions:

  1. Peel and devein:
    • 1 lb large shrimp (21-25 count)
  2. Reserve shrimp shells and tails.
  3. Heat a large sauce pan on medium heat and add reserved shrimp shells & tails with:
    • 4 cup seafood stock
  4. Simmer for 15 mins, strain and reserve the stock.
  5. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups of stock.
  6. Heat a dutch oven oven on medium-low heat and add:
    • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  7. Add and sauté for 10 minutes:
    • 2 cup leeks , chopped, white and light green parts only
  8. Add and cook for 1 minute:
    • 3 garlic cloves , chopped
  9. Stir in shelled & deveined shrimp with:
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  10. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add in and cook for 3 minutes:
    • 1/4 cup Cognac
    • 1/4 cup sherry
  12. Remove from heat.
  13. Transfer shrimp and leeks to a food processor and purée until smooth.
  14. In the same dutch oven, melt over medium-low heat:
    • 4 TBS butter, unsalted
  15. Stir in:
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  16. Cook flour for 1 minute.
  17. Slowly add and whisk in:
    • 2 cup half-and-half
  18. Keep whisking until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  19. Stir in puréed shrimp and seafood stock.
  20. Stir in until combined:
    • 1/3 cup tomato paste
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  21. Heat gently until hot but not boiling.
  22. Season to taste and serve hot.

Notes:

Serving Suggestions: Serve alone or with a hearty bread. A great special occassion soup! If you use too much of the green part of the leek, your soup will not have the vibrant pink color. Just add a little more tomato paste

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time:

Shrimp Bisque Detail

And for more great recipes, gourmet and not, check out Family Spice!

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2 Responses to Barefoot Bloggers: Shrimp Bisque

  1. Close to home at #

    great photo, enjoy the barefoot bloggers, I love Ina too!

  2. kimberly at #

    Great blog post and pictures! We really enjoyed this one.

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