Rating: 4 stars
2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

Sautéed shrimp shells impart a sweet complexity to the foundation of this deeply flavorful bisque. White rice is slowly simmered in the aromatic broth and then pureed to give the soup body and a velvety consistency, without masking the flavor of succulent shrimp. Serve with chopped steamed shrimp and a crusty baguette. 

August 2022


Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Recipe Summary

35 mins
1 hr 15 mins
6 to 8 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large stockpot over medium. Add tomatoes, onion, carrot, and celery; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Increase heat to high, and add shrimp shells and rice; cook, stirring often, until shells turn deep red, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in brandy. Return to heat over high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Tie together parsley, thyme, and bay leaf using kitchen twine to make a bouquet. Add herb bouquet, 9 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt to mixture in pot; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Uncover and let cool briefly, about 10 minutes. 

  • Remove and discard herb bouquet from soup mixture. Working in 2 batches, pour soup mixture into a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a 6-quart saucepan; discard solids.  

  • Bring bisque in saucepan to a low simmer over medium. Whisk in cream, lemon juice, black pepper, cayenne pepper, remaining 1/4 cup butter, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt until smooth and well combined. Adjust seasoning with additional salt, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. 

  • Divide bisque evenly among bowls. Garnish with crème fraîche, chives, and paprika, cayenne pepper, or Old Bay seasoning, as desired.

Make Ahead

Soup can be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.


Two pounds of shell-on large shrimp yield about 6 cups shrimp shells.

Suggested Pairing

Herbal, zesty Sauvignon Blanc: Massican Napa Valley