New Orleans Shrimp Bisque

Two weeks ago I went to a conference in New Orleans.  Freshly tired from only moving from Georgia 6 weeks earlier, I was honestly not in the mood nor happy to be traveling again. I love to travel and having the opportunity to attend was exciting but packing so soon I dreaded.  Anyway, I went, had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and found a new city to add to my foodie heaven collection.  I ate so many flavorful dishes, that I made it my business to visit the New Orleans School of Cooking before leaving.  I bought an excellent book called New Orleans Food and the minute I made it home, I began to use it. I am two dishes in deep and this Shrimp Bisque was the first dish. The effort of making fresh stock is priceless and fresh herbs add depth. Of course, because eating low fat is my thing, I made one substitution of fat free half and half for the cream.  This did not sacrifice taste in anyway, just made the soup less thick, but still dynamite. I recommend serving with an onion roll, as I love dipping bread in soup, and also adding a little extra hot sauce for a kick.  As a bonus, you will have left over cooked shrimp for other recipes. This is serious a favorite of mine now.

Ingredients

Stock
3 lbs medium shrimp, with heads on
2 Tbsp Creole seasoning, salt-free
1 tsp salt
1 bunch celery leaves and tops
1/2 small onion, cut up
1 bay leaf

Bisque
1 red bell pepper 
1/4 cup brandy
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp chervil
1/2 tsp dill
1 1/2 cups half and half, fat free
1 tsp Louisiana hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, chopped

Preparation

To make the stock, put the shrimp, Creole seasoning, and salt into a saucepan with 12 cups water. Bring it to a light boil, then lower to a bare simmer.

After 6 minutes, remove the shrimp and set aside to cool. Add the other stock ingredients and return to a simmer. Peel the shrimp. Reserve the meat but return the shells to the stock. Continue to simmer the stock, uncovered, for 25 minutes more. Strain the stock and discard the solids.

While the stock is simmering, put the bell pepper under a hot broiler until the skin is blacked here and there. Allow to cool, then peel the skin off and roughly chop.

Put the pepper pieces and about half the shrimp meat into a food processor with about cup of the stock.
Process into a rough puree.

Transfer the shrimp-pepper mixture to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brandy and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring a little. Lower the heat and add the tarragon, chervil, and dill, plus the strained shrimp stock. Return to a simmer.

After 5 minutes, stir in the half and half and hot sauce. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and 2 or 3 whole shrimp tails.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 8
Serving size: 1/8 of recipe (12.8 ounces).
Calories 202.64

% Daily Value
Calories From Fat  25.95  13%
Total Fat 2.94g  5%
Saturated Fat  0.73g  4%

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