Creamy Shrimp Bisque
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This is our version of an amazing Creamy Shrimp Bisque recipe, and we’ve gotta say we’re extremely proud with how it came out! This dish began by being inspired by the classic Lobster Bisque recipe, but we made a few little tweaks along the way. Namely, we wanted it to be a more affordable and everyday soup, so we replaced the Shrimp with Lobster. The dish also uses a beautiful Fish Stock which was primarily made using Shrimp Shells, Shrimp Heads, and Salmon bones

The flavor this Shrimp Bisque delivers is out of this world

There’s nothing quite like a great Soup. The first bite you take completely should completely envelop your taste buds with a wonderful flavor, instantly transporting you to wherever that Soup wants you to go. That is exactly what happens when you take a bit of this ridiculously tasty Creamy Shrimp Bisque

The flavors instantly hit you. The Shrimp flavor is immediately there, taking you straight to the ocean. You’re then met with some more complex Seafood flavors, which is brought on by the beautiful Fish Stock used in this recipe. Finally, the creaminess of the Vegetables and Heavy Cream fill you up with a wonderful, warming sensation that has a great, homely feel to it

Creamy Shrimp Bisque deep flavor
This Creamy Shrimp Bisque has such a rich depth of flavor. It’s truly phenomenal!

How to make the perfect Creamy Shrimp Bisque

Soups are often misunderstood as easy, basic cooking. Perhaps because so much Soup is consumed straight out of the can, so it’s seen as a quick and easy meal. No fuss needed. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Especially if you are looking to create a Soup from scratch and really develop all those wonderful flavors

Indeed, a great Soup can be one of the most challenging dishes to create and master in the kitchen. Many professional kitchens around the world gauge how good a new chef entering their kitchen is by the quality of their Soups. Making a great Soup is a labor of love. Most of all, they require time for the flavors to really develop and mature into that wonderful liquid

The base of this soup is a wonderful Fish Stock

We begin this Soup by making Fish Stock. The basis of almost all great Soups starts with a good quality, homemade stock, or broth. If you have the option of using Stock over water, always opt for Stock when making a Soup. The difference in flavor that a great stock will add to your Soup is simply night and day

We made the Fish Stock out of Shrimp Shells, Shrimp Heads and a whole Salmon which has been fileted. That’s right, a whole Salmon! The filets of the Salmon were removed and what was left was the carcass, including it’s head. Usually these are thrown away, however most Fishmongers will sell them super cheap for the purposes of making Stock

We threw the Shrimp and Fish Bones into our Instant Pot along with about 10 cups of Water and gave it a pressure cook for 1 ½ hours. Once done, we strained the Broth twice (the second time through a Cheesecloth to get rid of all the little bits), allowed it to cool, then covered it with cling film and refrigerated

Once the Fish Stock has cooled, a thin layer of fat forms on the surface. You want to skim away that layer of Fat and then use the remaining Fish Stock for your cooking. The Fat in a fish stock is totally fine to eat, as the fat from fish is actually good for you. We just removed the top layer because it can have an oily texture, which we didn’t want for our Soup

Vegetables in Fish Stock
Layering flavors is the name of the game with any Soup. Add the ingredients gradually and let them work their magic

Making a great Soup is all about building layers of flavor

Now that our first layer of flavor, the fish stock, is done, it’s time to begin making the Creamy Shrimp Bisque. Fry up a bunch of vegetables in a large Dutch Oven or Pot for a couple of minutes. For this recipe, the classic combination of Onion, Celery, Carrots, and Garlic are used

We also added some finely chopped Potatoes. Potatoes are great for Creamy Soups because when they’re blitzed, they add that wonderful creamy texture. It’s a great way to achieve a creamy result in Soup without having to use a lot of Heavy Cream. So, it’s also a lot healthier

You only want to fry off the Vegetables for a few minutes at most, as we don’t want them caramelizing and forming any darker colors, as this will impact the overall color of our Soup. There is also another essential, but somewhat bizarre ingredient that we add to the pot along with the Vegetables

Add Shrimp Shells to the Pot!

That’s right, we add Shrimp shells into the Pot with the Vegetables. Prepare the Shrimp that you’ll be using in the dish by peeling and deveining them. Instead of discarding the Shells, you want to add them to the pot. Just throw them straight in! You can also add the Shrimp heads for an even more concentrated, Shrimp flavor

Cook up the Vegetables and the Shrimp Shells in the pot. You don’t need to cook the Shrimp shells long, just enough for them to turn pick, 1 minute maximum. We then add White Wine and reduce that by about ½, then add in a generous amount of Fish Stock, about 6 cups or so

Let that all come to a boil, then drop the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. The goal here is just to cook the vegetables completely through. The Fish stock has already had 1 ½ hours in a pressure cooker, so it’s plenty cooked by now!

Throw it all into the Blender

Carefully pour all the ingredients, including all the liquid into a blender and give it a good blitz. About 2 minutes on medium should do the trick. Remember, we’ve got Shrimp Shells in there, so you need a little bit of time to get them blitzed down as much as possible

The Soup is then strained to remove the Shrimp Shells. So, you don’t need to worry, you’re not going to be eating Shrimp shells! The purpose of adding them to the Soup is we’re extracting as much juice and flavor out of them as possible. Straining the Soup through a fine sieve with a Cheesecloth will remove any crunchy bits, so it’ll be a wonderfully smooth textures Soup

Creamy Shrimp Bisque with Potato
The Creaminess of our Creamy Shrimp Bisque primarily comes from the Potatoes. Add a little bit of Heavy Cream for even more luxury to the dish

Add the Cream and Shrimp to the Soup

Back in the Pot it goes, where we cook it down for a few more minutes and add a little bit of Heavy Cream. Be careful with the Heavy Cream however, as you don’t want to add too much. Heavy Cream is great to add a luxurious, velvety texture to Soups, but it does have the tendency to dilute the flavor

We’ve worked so hard to get that wonderful Shrimpy, Seafood flavor into the Soup. You don’t want it all to go to waste by adding too much Cream. Just add about 100ml at a time and then taste. About 150ml – 200ml is the most you want to use in this Creamy Shrimp Bisque to get the right consistency

We then add the Shrimp. We like to keep the tails on for some added presentation. The Shrimp won’t take long to cook at all. Submerge them into the Soup which is lightly simmering and cook for 2 minutes, that’s all you need and you’re ready to serve!

Pan Fried Shrimp in Butter
An optional garnish is to pan fry some Jumbo Shrimp in Butter. Peel them then serve on top of the individual bowls for a show-stopping presentation

For added showiness, cook up some separate Jumbo Shrimp for plating

If you’ve got the means, and the time we recommend cooking up 2 or 3 Jumbo Shrimp separately, and reserve them for plating. As we’re trying to replicate a classic Lobster Bisque with this dish, plating a large piece of Shellfish on top of the Soup is a great way to do so

Simply pan sear the Jumbo Shrimp with a bit of butter for about 1 ½ minutes on each side and they’ll be done. Set them aside to cool, then peel and devein before placing on top the plated Soup for a lovely presentation. This is an optional step, but it does add a different element of flavor and texture to the Creamy Shrimp Bisque that we think works an absolute treat!

Recipe Details

Servings

4 people

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

2 hours, 30 minutes

Total time

2 hours, 45 minutes

Creamy Shrimp Bisque Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Shrimp
  • 4 Jumbo Shrimp (optional)
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 1 Potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 200ml Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp. Chives, finely chopped
  • Salt

For the Fish Stock

  • ½ lb. Shrimp Shells and Heads
  • 1 Fish Carcass
  • 10 cups of Water

Equipment needed: Cheesecloth and (optional) Instant Pot

Instructions

  1. Begin by making the Fish Stock by placing the Shrimp Shells, Shrimp Heads, and the Fish Carcass in a large Pot along with 10 cups of Water. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. (You can also make the Stock in an Instant Pot – Pressure cook for 1 ½ hours)
  2. After 2 hours, remove any large pieces and then strain the stock through a fine sieve, retaining the liquid. Strain the stock a second time through the sieve with Cheesecloth to remove any smaller bits. Retain the Stock and discard everything else

To Make the Soup

  1. Begin by preparing the Shrimp. Remove the head and shells and devein. Here’s a great video on the best technique
  2. Add the Carrot, Celery, Onion, Garlic, and the Shrimp Shells into a large Pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the White Wine. Reduce by ½ then add 6 cups of Fish Stock
  3. Bring the dish to a simmer then turn off the heat. Once cooled slightly, pour everything into a blender and blitz for 2 minutes on medium
  4. Strain the liquid through a Sieve with a Cheesecloth to remove the shells and then pour the strained liquid back into the Pot over medium heat. Add 100ml of Cream and season with 1 tsp. of Salt
  5. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 10 – 15 minutes to reduce. Check for seasoning and consistency, adding any additional Heavy Cream or Salt if needed. Once cooked, finish with Lemon Juice and serve into individual bowls topped with freshly chopped Chives
  6. Optional Step: While the Soup is simmering, pan-sear the whole Jumbo Shrimp with 1 tbsp. of Butter for 1 ½ minutes on either side. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel and add 1 Shrimp to each bowl of Creamy Shrimp Bisque

It’s a labor of love, but we hope you’ve stuck with it and are enjoying this wonderful Creamy Shrimp Bisque along with some crusty bread right now!

For more awesome Soup recipes head over to that section of our website here. If you enjoyed this dish, we recommend trying out these other amazing Soup recipes:

Happy Cooking!

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