Bisque…Quick!

No silly, not pancakes or waffles out of the box.  That stuff isn’t even on sale this week…..but shrimp is!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am absolutely crazy for soup.  Year round.

A steaming bowl of soup might not sound that appealing in the middle of summer, but I would argue that it’s a SOUP-ER (I know, sorry) dinner option right now, for those evenings when busy families are on the go, go, go.  If you have time to toss together a pot of soup in the morning or afternoon, it’ll be ready when you are later on in the evening.  Besides, most soups benefit from sitting for a little while (in the fridge, of course) before serving!

In my last post (the Shrimp & Sweet Corn Cakes) I talked about using the 26/30 count shrimp that were on sale, and how I like to use these smaller shrimp for applications where ‘size doesn’t matter’ (there’s a joke in there somewhere; use your imagination).  I used one pound (of the 2 pound bag) for the shrimp cakes, and decided to use the other half to make this very quick Chunky Shrimp Bisque (I cut the recipe in half with no trouble).

(*NOTE:  try the Bos’n Brand that are on sale this week at $12.99 for a 2-pound bag.)

You will not believe how quickly this soup comes together; there is very little chopping involved.  It’s blended just before serving (* see note on blending hot liquids), and it’s up to you how chunky or smooth you make it.  I decided to try it smooth, and loved the result; it was definitely even elegant enough to serve as a first course at a dinner party.  Next time I might leave it a little chunkier for a down-home feel.

Another option would be to swap in chunked lobster for the shrimp (although, that’s obviously a special occasion swap, and certainly would not be FRUGAL).

Either way, this soup is a winner – any time of the year.  Add bread and a simple salad, and (voila!) dinner is served!  ENJOY!

CHUNKY SHRIMP BISQUE

Serves: 6

Source:  The Deen Bros. Cookbook, Recipes from the Road, by Jamie and Bobby Dean and Melissa Clark, pp. 188-189

  • 6 T. butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 3 T. flour
  • 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 c. canned chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 c. cream
  • 2 T. dry sherry
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped (reserve out 6 WHOLE shrimp – ie, un-chopped, if you would like to make a pretty garnish)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme.  Cook about 10 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring frequently.  Add flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes.  Add broth, whisking until well combined.  Add tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Add cream and sherry, simmer for 10 minutes.  Add shrimp, cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the bay leaf and puree half of the soup in a blender.  Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir to combine (or, do as I did and use an immersion blender to achieve your desired consistency).  Heat through.  Ladle the bisque into bowls and serve!

FOR GARNISH:  Place reserved un-chopped shrimp on a cutting board.  Use your knife to slice the shrimp in half horizontally.  Saute the shrimp halves in a little bit of butter or olive oil until they curl up (almost like a corkscrew).  Garnish the individual bowls of soup with the sautéed shrimp.

NOTE * BLENDING  HOT LIQUIDS 101: Unless you enjoy cleaning soup off of yourself, your cabinets, and your ceiling, please, please, please do not 1). Fill your blender to the top with hot soup, and then 2). Put the lid on tightly, and then 3).  Turn it on full blast.  (I’m telling you these things because 1). I like you, and 2). I don’t want your scalded self and your messed up kitchen on my conscience!)

Instead, allow the soup to cool slightly in the pan.  Fill the blender just over halfway, then begin blending the soup very slowly, leaving the lid slightly askew.  I also like to hold a folded up dishtowel on the lid, as I’m holding the lid in place.  As the steam is under control, then you can increase your speed.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 6th, 2009