Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 Serves 6 to 8.
Bisque refers to a particular type of soup: a pureed seafood soup made with cream. Shrimp or lobster is the typical star of a bisque. The meaning of the term has broadened in recent years to include creamy pureed vegetable soups as well.


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells
  • 4 plum tomatoes, about 3/4 lb. total, coarsely
  • 4 cups fish or chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp shells and sauté until the shells are bright pink and the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and stock and cook until the tomatoes are softened and the stock is aromatic, about 5 minutes more. Remove the shrimp shells and discard.

In a blender or food processor, process the mixture in batches until finely chopped. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill set over a soup pot, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids in the sieve.

Reserve about 24 shrimp to finish the soup. Add the remaining shrimp and the bread crumbs to the pot. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are opaque throughout and the bread crumbs have been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. In the blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Alternatively, process with a stick blender in the pot until smooth.

Return the puree to medium heat and add the cream, sherry, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Cut the reserved shrimp into 1-inch pieces. Just before serving, add the shrimp to the soup and cook until they turn pink and are opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
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