Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. Ina Garten Shrimp Bisque is not difficult to make and everyone will love the flavor of this creamy and decadent soup!
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. 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 am not much of a soup eater, but I do love a chunky clam chowder. So when someone asked me to make shrimp bisque at the next family dinner, I cringed. Really?
Why you should try this recipe
A bisque is a rich, creamy soup that is typically made with seafood. Bisque can also be made vegetarian, like tomato bisque. As the name suggests, bisque is French in origin and is a smooth and puréed soup.
A seafood bisque can be made from lobster, langoustine, crab, shrimp, or crayfish. The recipe I am sharing today uses shrimp. Unlike a chowder, where the seafood is kept whole, in a bisque the seafood is puréed.
You would think this being a French recipe that it would be difficult to make. It is actually quite easy to make and comes together quickly. You can make your own seafood stock, by simmering shrimp shells or purchase seafood stock.
I found the flavor of this bisque 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 on these cold winter nights, who wouldn’t want to curl up with a bowl hot soup?
Ingredients you need
- Shrimp: Larger count shrimp (21-25 count) is what Ina asked for in this recipe. But since you are puréeing the shrimp, you can get away with using smaller size shrimp.
- Seafood stock: You can also use vegetable stock instead.
- Leeks: You will be using the white and light green parts of the leeks. Save the greens for omelettes, quiche or soup. You can also stuff them in a roast chicken.
- Garlic: Use real garlic and not garlic powder.
- Cognac: You can substitute cognac with some brandy or whiskey.
- Cooking sherry: You can substitute with a dry white wine, dry vermouth or even drinking sherry.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt your food contains.
- Half-and-half: If you want to forgo adding the flour, use full fat heavy whipping cream instead of half-and-half.
- Pantry staples: Extra virgin olive oil, all-purpose flour, tomato paste, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
1. Heat a dutch oven oven on medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add leeks and sauté for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2. Stir in shrimp and cayenne pepper and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add in Cognac and sherry, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Transfer shrimp and leeks to a bowl and reserve. If you have a food processor, purée until smooth. If you have a hand blender, you can purée it later in the pot.
5. In the same dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
6. Slowly whisk in half-and-half. Keep whisking until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Stir in reserved shrimp-leek mixture, seafood stock and water. If puréed, stir it in. Use a hand blender to purée everything.
8. Whisk in tomato paste until combined. Heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season to taste and serve hot.
Recipe tips and FAQs
The base of the Barefoot Contessa Shrimp Bisque is a seafood stock. She recommends simmering the stock with the reserved shrimp shells and tails for 15 minutes. But if you are using already peeled shrimp, don’t worry about this step.
Garnish with a little bit of half-and-half or cream, chopped parsley, chives and/or red pepper flakes. If you want more shrimp flavor, cook up extra shrimp and garnish with that.
Love Ina’s recipes like I do? Here are some of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes:
- Ina Garten Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
- Ina Garten Oatmeal Cookies with Raisin and Pecans
- Ina Garten Baked Shrimp Scampi
- Ina Garten Grilled Shrimp Kabob
- Ina Garten Chicken Caesar Club Sandwich
- Ina Garten Coconut Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- Ina Garten Creme Brulee
Because shrimp bisque is a thick puréed soup, serve your soup with a hearty bread, crackers or even bread sticks. Garnish with a swirl of cream, chopped chives or parsley, some red pepper flakes or even some more shrimp.
- 1 lb large shrimp (21-25 count)
- 2 cup seafood stock
- 2 cups water
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup Cognac
- ¼ cup sherry
- 4 TBS unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cup half-and-half
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- If shrimp has shells, peel and devein shrimp.
- Heat a dutch oven oven on medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add leeks and sauté for 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in shrimp and cayenne pepper Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in Cognac and sherry, and cook for 3 minutes: Remove from heat.
- Transfer shrimp and leeks to a food processor and purée until smooth or reserve and add to soup later and purée with a hand blender in the pot.
- In the same dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat.
- Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in half-and-half. Keep whisking until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in salt and pepper, puréed shrimp, seafood stock and water. If shrimp and leeks aren't puréed, use a hand blender and purée in the pot until smooth.
- Whisk in tomato paste until combined. Heat gently until hot but not boiling.
- Season to taste and serve hot.
Serving Suggestions: Serve alone or with a hearty bread. A great special occasion 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
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 448Total Fat: 25.5gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 1220mgCarbohydrates: 16.8gFiber: 1.4gSugar: 3.1gProtein: 21.9g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!