I came across a bottle of sherry in the back of my cupboard I had forgotten about. It's always interesting to me the associations I make with alcohol. When I see rum, I think of German "Rumtopf", which I keep meaning to get started. Tequila has me thinking margarita and sherry I think of oxtail soup or bisque. Most of the alcohol I have ends up in my food, rather than in a drink.
In any case, I hadn't made a bisque in a long time and I still had over a pound of shrimp in their shells. I love shrimp in almost any form.
This creamy and flavorful bisque is thickened with rice.
adapted from here.
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 lb raw shrimp with shells (the shrimp I get at the market sadly already have their heads removed)
1 bay leaf
2-3 springs thyme
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1/4 cup raw white long grain rice
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
a few pinches sweet paprika
a tsp of thinly sliced green onion (the green part)
4 reserved cooked shrimp (or more if the shrimp you used were small)
Melt the butter in a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid over a low flame. Stir in the garlic and when that becomes fragrant, stir in the onions, carrots and celery. Saute the vegetables, stirring from time to time for about 15 minutes. Adjust the flame as needed to keep things from burning.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the shrimp.
Remove the shells from the shrimp and set aside. Remove and discard the veins. Place the cleaned shrimp into the refrigerator until needed.
Add the shrimp shells to the vegetables along with the bay leaf, thyme and broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover the pot. Reduce the flame to low and cook for about 2 hours.
Strain the broth through a sieve (I used a potato ricer). At this point you can store the shrimp broth in the refrigerator for use on another day, if you wish.
Return the broth to the pot, you should have about 5 1/2 cups of broth, give or take.
Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, rice and sherry. Bring the contents to a light simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Add the shrimp and cook until they are opaque and cooked through; 3-5 minutes depending on their size. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon. Reserve 4 shrimp (or more if you used small shrimp) for garnish and set aside.
I used an immersion type blender, so I cut up the remaining shrimp and returned those to the pot. Then I used the blender until the bisque looked relatively smooth to me; a few chunks are ok.
Had I used a food processor, I would have dropped the shrimp into the processor bowl, then removed as much rice as possible from the stock with a large spoon and added that as well. I also would have added about 1/4 cup of broth. I would have processed this mixture until smooth and then returned it back to the pot , then given everything a good stir.
Taste and adjust for seasoning in case you need to add additional salt, pepper or cayenne. My vegetable broth was well seasoned and I didn't have to add anything.
Stir in the cream and heat through, do not allow the mixture to come to a boil otherwise the cream might curdle.
Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle each with a small amount of paprika followed by the sliced green onion. Lastly divide and place the reserved shrimp in the centre of each bowl. Serve.