Shrimp and Crab Bisque

Course : Bisques
Serves: 8-12
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1/4 pound shell-on shrimp (any kind or size)
1/2 pound crab legs, with or without shells and claws
1 small lobster tail
1/4 cup butter
1/2 pound coarsely chopped mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery)
1 1/2 pieces bay leaves
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 teaspoons paprika to taste
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup Vin Santo (sweet Italian dessert wine)
3 quarts whipping cream
1 teaspoon dry tarragon
3/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder or to taste
1 teaspoon salt to taste

Preparation / Directions:

Remove meat from shrimp, crab legs and lobster tail. Set shells aside and steam flesh until cooked through. Set aside. In pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add mirepoix and cook 5 minutes or until soft. Add seafood shells and cook another 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, mushrooms and tomato paste and let brown slightly. Keep scraping pan to prevent burning. Add paprika and cook 1 minute. Remove pot from flame and deglaze by adding branding and igniting. When flames die down, return to heat and let mixture reduce by half, then add Vin Santo. Add cream, tarragon, pepper, nutmeg, curry and salt. Let mixture come to a boil, then lower heat to barely a simmer. Simmer about 1 hour. If heat is too high, mixture will curdle. Pass bisque through a fine sieve. Discard solids. Transfer to serving dishes and garnish with reserved seafood.

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