Monday, November 21, 2011

Shrimp Bisque from Scratch

While looking for a dessert recipe to make for Thanksgiving, I came across an easy shrimp bisque recipe in Dinner Tonight, Done by Real Simple.  The recipe called for shrimp, heavy cream, brandy, canned tomato soup and fresh chives.  I was in the mood for something a bit more complicated, so I decided to make my own tomato soup for the base instead of using canned.  I used Jamie Oliver's tomato soup recipe from 30 Minute Meals.

I started off by roasting about a pound of cherry tomatoes and a few larger tomatoes on a baking sheet with four crushed garlic cloves, half of a de-seeded green chile, salt, pepper and a good lug of olive oil.  This roasted on 425 F for about 15 mins, and proceeded to smoke out my kitchen.  I roughly chopped a red onion and cooked it up in a large sauce pan with 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until soft.
Once the tomatoes became a bit wrinkled and soft, I combined them with the onions and cooked the combo up for another few minutes until it was fragrant and came together nicely.
 I blended the combination in two batches until it reached a "rustic" consistency.  Rustic was Jamie's word and I think it is perfectly descriptive of a nicely blended but still textured soup.  I made a major mistake with the blender which almost compromised the entire dish.  Oops.  Luckily we were able to pull it together and save the meal.  I won't go into detail.
The Real Simple shrimp bisque recipe called for 28 oz of canned tomato soup, which was almost exactly how much the Jamie Oliver recipe made.  I cooked 1 pound of shrimp in the large saucepan with a little bit of butter and then set aside.  Next I combined the tomato soup, 1 cup of heavy cream, a bit of water and 1 tablespoon of brandy in the saucepan and let it all come together on medium heat for a few minutes.  I added the shrimp for 2-3 minutes and the soup was ready to serve.  Be sure not to cook for too long after the shrimp is added and risk overcooking.
Andddddd the result:  This soup was so good.  I'm really glad I made my own tomato soup base because I can imagine that it would have been quite flat with canned soup.  Jamie's recipe added so much flavor and depth to the dish, and I think the soup really benefitted from the spice that the green chile brought.  The texture was really nice although there were a few un-pureed pieces of onion floating around that eluded the blender.  I think next time I would let the tomatoes and onions get a bit softer before blending to ensure that everything gets chopped up.  The broth was not too heavy and had a beautiful color, and the shrimp were cooked really well.  With a warm, crusty baguette, this was delish.  I would definitely make it again.

2 comments:

Aysha said...

Hi Elspeth,

I'm Aysha from that terrible photography class we took together at Fordham. I'd bookmarked your blog a while ago, found it recently and have spent a LOT of time reading through, salivating over all the food I'm missing out on since I moved back home. So yeah, if you ever wondered why you suddenly have so much traffic from India, that would be me :) Tried out the shrimp brisque and really loved it!

Anyway, I just thought I'd stop by and say hello. Hope all is well!

Elspeth said...

Hi! So nice to hear from you! Thanks for reading... I'm jealous that you've moved back to India! I hope to travel there in the next year or two and see the whole country.. need to find a chunk of time! I'll be going to Australia for a year in a few weeks, so I hope to make it work after that. Find me on FB so we can keep in touch if I make it over there!

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