Souper Bowl Sunday [’11] ~ Week Two ~ Shrimp Bisque

This weekend actually felt like Fall, which is always a bonus in my book! I loved being able to have the air conditioning turned off, and the windows open. This week’s Souper Bowl Sunday recipe is a Shrimp Bisque recipe from Tyler Florence.  I love seafood, and a nice creamy soup, so I thought this was the perfect recipe to try!


  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into big chunks
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish


Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it.

Add Olive Oil and then Butter

Then add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir it all together

Take the pot off the heat and carefully pour in the brandy. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides.

Add Brandy

Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

Add Water (or Seafood Stock)

Add the cream and bring to a boil.

Bring Cream to a boil

Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened

Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.

Strain the Bisque – nice & smooth!

Chop the shrimp. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes just to cook the shrimp through. Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest and chives.


I usually make some sort of change to the recipe, and this was no exception. Except that this time I only made two changes! I usually change up a bunch of things, but I really like the way this recipe was written. One change that I made had to do with the cream. It calls for 4 cups of heavy cream. I decided to use 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of light cream. I’ve had luck in the past with making this change, so I figured I’d try it out here. The second thing I did differently had to do with the water that you add. I added some seafood stock (made with Penzeys Seafood Soup Base)  in place of the water because I figured it would give that extra depth. I ended up adding in 1 1/2 cups, and that seemed to work out well.

I really loved the flavor that the orange zest gave it. It was very subtle, but it added a lot of flavor, if that makes any sense. I definitely wouldn’t skip that part. At first I thought it sounded kind of odd, but I wanted to try it. And I’m so glad that I did. I loved it. This Shrimp Bisque really was delicious. I loved how creamy and flavorful it was. I would say the biggest pain in the butt was straining the soup, but it’s something that really has to be done. It’s not difficult to do, it’s just a little time consuming. But it’s definitely worth it in the end.

I want to try this recipe but doing a Lobster Bisque. I’ll definitely share it with you all when I do.

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  1. Orange zest in bisque – intriguing!

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