I grew up on hearty soups and stews, particularly during the fall and winter months. These past few years, I’ve thrown bisques into the stewy mix.
Bisque is known for its creamy, rich, velvety texture. It commonly gains succulence from extracting umami flavors from shellfish.
There’s typically not a lot of visual hoopla going on in the bowl, appearing rather simple…but it only takes one bite for eaters to know they’re slurping on Marvelous.
This pumpkin shrimp bisque embraces scrumptious seasonal goodness. It’s a delightfully light yet flavorful dish for any holiday spread…
Be sure to get large shrimp with shell on. Unlike myself, who accidentally came home with two bags of pre-shelled shrimp and had to make yet another trip back to the market [I lose normal function of my brain during the holiday season.]
It’s all those crustacean shells that will extract fabulous flavor for the bisque. Plus, you’ll get major flavor enhancement from just a splash of Asian fish sauce; nobody would ever guess it’s in there, as it won’t taste fishy at all. Secret ingredient revealed.
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Pumpkin Shrimp Bisque
For Shrimp Stock:
- 2 TB olive oil
- Shells and tails, from 1 lb large shrimp
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups high quality chicken stock, homemade is best
- 1 pinch saffron threads, Generous
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4 large bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
- ½ cup half & half
- ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp Asian fish sauce
For the Shrimp:
- 1 lb large shrimp, deshelled and deveined
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
- shredded fresh kale
- roasted pumpkin seeds, pepitas
- crackers or toasted bread to serve
For the Shrimp Stock:
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the shrimp shells and tails (not the shrimp) and cook, stirring constantly, until shells turn deep orange and release a rich, concentrated shrimp aroma, 3-4 minutes. Stovetop roasting of the shells provides depth of flavor, so don't skip this important step.
- Turn off heat and add the wine to the pan. Then turn heat on medium until mixture reaches a boil; continue stirring and boiling until mixture reduces by half. Add the chicken stock, saffron, celery, onion, bay leaves, and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Partially cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve positioned over a stock pot. Using back of large spoon, press down hard on the veggies/shells in order to release all liquid possible. Toss solids.
- Whisk the pumpkin, half & half, salt, and cayenne into the shrimp stock. Bring the soup to a simmer, then cook uncovered over low heat for 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, fish sauce, and add kosher salt to taste.
- For the Shrimp: Pour the olive oil into a large sauté pan placed over medium heat. When hot, add the reserved shrimp and sage, tossing often, until the shrimp is just cooked through, turning from translucent to opaque, about 2 minutes. Take care not to overcook. Arrange the shrimp in individual bowls. Bring the soup back to a simmer and then ladle it over the shrimp. Garnish with shredded kale and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and serve immediately with your choice of bread or crackers.
Nutrition (per serving)
Source: Chew Out Loud, adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook