This took a little bit of time to make, but it was worth it. If you don’t have a food mill, use a sifter. Make sure you press it to get all the liquid. Serve with crusty bread. Adapted from Fresh Fish by Jennifer Trainer Thompson.
Shrimp Bisque with Bourbon
- 2 pounds (33-35) large raw shrimp, deveined and unshelled, reserving the shells
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium leek (white parts only), washed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
- 5 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and white pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives for garnish
- Reserve 16 whole shrimp and coarsely chop the remaining.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot over high heat. Season the chopped shrimp with salt and black pepper, add to the pot. Cook until just opaque. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add remaining oil to the pan and add the shrimp shells and stir occasionally till the shells begin to brown. Take the pot off the heat and pour the 1/4 cup of bourbon into the pot. Carefully ignite the bourbon with a long kitchen match or stick flame. Let it burn till the flame subsides and the alcohol is burned off. Return the pot to the heat and cook until the liquid has reduced, about 3 minutes. Transfer the shells and liquid to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pot melt 1 tablespoon of butter, over medium heat. Add the celery and fennel and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the onion , leek, and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to coat the bottom of the pan and it’s somewhat carmelized, about 2 minutes. Add the additional 1 tablespoon of butter and melt. Add the flour and cook stirring constantly, to coat the vegetables, about 1 minute. Add the wine and chicken broth and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the water, rice, thyme, bay leaf, and the reserved shrimp shells with its liquid. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cover. Cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
- When the rice is cooked, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Push the soup including the shells through a food mill. Discard the solids, and return to a clean pot set over low heat. Stir in the reserved chopped shrimp, cream, and 2 tablespoons of bourbon. Heat through but do not boil.
- Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over high heat and saute the 16 reserved shrimp. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- Divide the soup among bowls and garnish with the whole shrimp and chives.