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Author Notes: Every once in a while, we need to indulge in something rich and delicious. If you want to impress your family and friends, try this one on for size. Not too heavy. Not too creamy. Definitely rich and delicious. The base of this bisque starts off with seafood stock (homemade or purchased), which then gets a flavor boost by simmering it for a short time with the shrimp shells. You can easily transform this goodness into a gluten-free treat by replacing the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free variety. —rosemary | a hint of rosemary
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled & deveined, shells reserved (leave tail on 6 shrimp, for shrimp garnish)
- 4 cups seafood stock
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for shrimp garnish)
- 2 cups chopped leeks, white & light green parts (about 3 leeks)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or madeira wine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus extra for garnish)
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a large saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock, adding enough water to make a total of 3 3/4 cups.
- Heat a small saucepan or grill pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the 6 garnish shrimp until cooked through with a golden edge. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the chopped garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper & shrimp. Cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the brandy or cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the dry sherry or Madeira wine and cook for 3 minutes longer.
- Transfer the shrimp and leeks to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed. Alternately, transfer the shrimp and leeks to a deep bowl and roughly blend with an immersion blender. Set aside.
- Using the same pot or dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt & pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season to taste. Serve immediately garnished with fresh parsley, a sprinkling of fresh ground pepper and 1 grilled shrimp.