Perfect Shrimp Bisque

We’ve wanted to try our hand at shrimp bisque for years, and we haven’t got around to it until now. Why? The honest truth is that we didn’t want to go through the trouble of making shrimp stock (you need lots of shrimp heads and shells). It’s been so chilly and foggy in San Francisco this week, we’ve been in the mood for cold-weather foods. We went out to explore the Presidio this weekend and ended up in the Marina.

Clayton from The Taste Edit photographing the Golden Gate Bridge
The Taste Edit visits the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Our friends have told us about Marina Meats, so we decided to stop in. They had a fantastic selection of stocks in their freezer, and when we noticed the frozen shrimp stock we were sold! We went online and found that one of our go-to stock companies carries a shellfish stock, so if you can’t find frozen shrimp stock where you live and don’t want to make it from scratch, you can order this shellfish stock online. We’ve tried their demi-glace and it’s amazing. If you do feel like making your own, you can follow our directions here for shellfish stock and just substitute shrimp shells and heads in place of lobster.

The Taste Edit visits Marina Meats in the Marina District of San Francisco

Having found incredibly convenient shrimp stock, and even peeled and deveined shrimp without the tails, we researched a bunch of bisques and came up with something incredibly easy and really amazing (what we think is the perfect shrimp bisque). We started with a base of mirepoix, garlic, and tomato puree (we almost always use this brand of tomato puree and keep a bunch in our pantry) in our go-to dutch oven.  We deglazed the pan with cognac (actually a California version from Ukiah that we love), and added a quart of shrimp stock and let the pot simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes covered.

The perfect shrimp bisque recipe by The Taste Edit

We dropped the cleaned shrimp into the simmering stock and let it cook about 3 minutes, then poured the everything into our Vitamix and blended it until it was perfectly smooth. In the same pan, we made a quick roux with butter and flour and whisked in two cups of half and half. Once it thickened, we added back the shrimp puree from the Vitamix to finish.

The perfect shrimp bisque soup on a chilly day in San Francisco is the best creamy seafood soup
Cracking pepper on the best shrimp bisque recipe

We found some beautiful chives that we thought would make the perfect garnish and served the bisque in these low bowls that we’ve had for years and still use every day. We’re pretty sure we’ve found a new cold-weather staple. This was so good, we’ll make it again and again!

Perfect Shrimp Bisque
  • Olive oil (we use this one)
  • 2 cups mirepoix (directions here)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ cup tomato puree (our favorite)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup cognac
  • 1 quart shrimp stock (try this recipe with only shrimp or this shellfish stock)
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, with no tail
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Salt
  • Finely sliced chives and freshly ground black pepper, to serve
  1. Heat enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the mirepoix and sauté until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Add tomato puree and cayenne pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the tomato puree begins to bubble, then deglaze with the cognac. Add the shrimp stock and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes.
  2. When the vegetables are soft, add the shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes, until the shrimp is just cooked through.
  3. Remove from the heat and move all of the contents of the dutch oven to a blender. Blend until very smooth and set aside.
  4. In the same dutch oven, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the roux thickens, then whisk in the half and half. Bring to a simmer, and when the mixture thickens, add the shrimp and stock puree back to the dutch oven, whisking constantly.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve garnished with finely sliced chives and a drizzle of olive oil.

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