January 04, 2006

New Years Soup

I should have spent New years drinking and making resolutions but I decided to make to make soup instead. It was my favorite dish at my favorite restaurant. They were nice enough to give me the recipe for it and all this time I never tried making it because I figured it would never be as good. Boy was I wrong. So I'll never lose it I'll share with you the recipe for Shrimp Crab and Fennel Bisque. It takes a little while to prepare but is worth it.

1/2 lbShrimp (70-90 count)
1/4 cupCelery
1/2 cupCarrot
1 cupOnion
1/2 bulbFennel, no core, stems or leaves
1 teaspoonGarlic, minced
1 TablespoonTomato Paste
1/2 cupDry White Wine
10 threadsSaffron
1 1/2 QuartsWater
1/4 lbRice, Cooked
1/2 cupHeavy Cream, heated
1/4 cupTomato Sauce
2 cupsLump Crabmeat
Pernod liquor to taste
Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper to taste
Chopped Chives

Heat a large pot, enough to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Add some oil and saute the shrimp until they turn pink. Turn heat down to medium and add the celery, carrots, onions, fennel and garlic, saute until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the wine, add the saffron and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the water, stock and rice. Cook for 35-50 minutes or until the rice is very soft. Using an immersion blender, puree the soupuntil there are no grains of rice left whole (this will take a while). Strain through a china cap or strainer.

Add the hot cream, tomato sauce, peeled shrimp, crabmeat. Add salt and cayenne pepper, and Pernod to taste. Divide into 6 bowls, garnish with chopped chives and enjoy.

My notes: The recipe calls for you to add shrimp twice. I only added 1/4 to 1/3 of the shrimp first because it just gets pureed so I figure you still get the flavor using a little bit. Also, I made a stock with the water and shrimp shells so that really pumps up the shrimp flavor too. I used too much cayenne pepper (1/2 to 3/4 tsp) and probably not enough Pernod. I'd probably use less next time and just keep some tabasco handy at the table. The recipe also says to cut the veggies into a 1 inch dice but since you're going to blend them all up at some point go ahead and cut them however you like. Oh yeah, I didn't actually heat the cream either — it didn't seem to make a difference.

p.s. Immersion blenders are fun. They also make great chocolate milkshakes so that's another good reason to get one. Next summer I'm going to make a nice gazpacho with it. You could use a food processor or blender instead, but cleaning it up will suck and the immersion blender is still better making milkshakes too.

Posted by thom at January 4, 2006 08:19 PM
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