Let me introduce you to my all-time favourite soup. Maybe I’ve said that about a different soup at some point in the past, but it may have been because I hadn’t had this in a while and I’d forgotten just how much I love this…and missed this soup. Seriously–shrimp (I could stop there), in a freakin flavourful creamy bisque–‘nough said!
Last night we had some friends over for dinner. It had been waaaay too long since we’d gotten together to eat, chat, and just catch up. It was really nice for the adults and the kids.
We’re neighbours–we live almost directly across the street from each other–yet we’ve barely seen each other in months. It’s hard to believe, but sadly it’s true. We can blame this phenomenon a little bit on our winter hibernation ritual, but that seems like a ridiculous excuse. The world is changing; our kids used to spend a lot more time playing together outside–no matter the season. But, with extra curricular activities, organized sports, music lessons, homework, and the lure of video games in the comfort of home, the kids are rarely available or interested in getting outside to play. I remember when our neighbourhood was new and there were a lot of young families here; there were always kids playing outside–street hockey, shooting hoops in someone’s driveway, and building tunnels in the snow. Not so much anymore. It’s certainly not the same as my childhood–we were always outside; playdates weren’t scheduled, the cold didn’t scare us, and we always found fun things to do on our own. OMG…. I just pulled the “when I was your age…” story that my parents used to tell me when I was young. I’ve become my parents. I didn’t even see that coming.
Now that I’m back from my tangent (you’re welcome), I feel I should wrap up this story, then go for a walk and send the kids outside to play. It’s going to be a great day! Make yours a great day, and always eat well friends! Oh… and give this, my favourite soup, a try and let us know what you think.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large cooking onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups of water
- 2.2 Lbs (1 kg) thawed black tiger shrimp, deveined with shell on (or other preferred shrimp)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups clam juice (or fish stock)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- ½ tsp worcestorshire sauce
- ½ tsp piri piri sauce
- 3 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Plain bread croutons for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium high.
- Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the water and bring to a boil on medium high.
- Add the shrimp and bay leaves to the boiling water.
- Once the water starts bubbling again, boil for about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to low.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the water, set aside and let cool until you can handle the shrimp with your hands.
- Peel the shrimp, saving the shells.
- Set the peeled shrimp aside and add the shrimp peels back into the boiling water.
- Raise the temperature to medium high and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Pour the broth through a cheese cloth, over a sieve into a large bowl.
- Set the shrimp broth aside.
- In the same pot (now empty) heat the butter on medium until it's liquified.
- Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until the flour and butter form a paste.
- Keep whisking slowly for about 5 minutes or until the paste develops a nutty smell and light beige colour (this is a blond roux used to thicken the soup).
- Add in the clam juice, white wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, piri piri sauce, salt, pepper and the shrimp broth.
- Whisk everything together well and bring to a boil on medium high.
- Keep whisking until the soup starts to thicken.
- Reduce the temperature to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes (uncover and whisk every couple of minutes).
- Chop the cooked shrimp (each shrimp into about 3 pieces).
- Shut off the heat, add the shrimp pieces to the soup/bisque and stir.
- Pour the hot shrimp bisque into bowls and garnish with croutons and freshly ground pepper.
For additional flavour, run the shells and water (without the bay leaf) through a powerful blender. Then pour this mix over the cheese cloth.