RECIPE – SEAFOOD BISQUE
(SHRIMP & CRAB)
YIELD approximately 1 quart of soup
½ stick butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
about 1/4 cup all purpose flour, possibly more
Melt the butter in heavy pot and add the leeks. Cook about a minute, stirring so the leeks and the butter doesn’t burn. Turn heat down very low and stir in the flour. Continue to add more flour until all the butter has been absorbed. Do not make the “roux” too dry. You also don’t want to brown this roux, that is why I specify that you turn the heat down to very low. If you must, tilt the pot so that only half of it sits on the burner. Stir occasionally and cook about 5-7 minutes. By doing this you cook out the floury taste.
KEY POINTS FOR MAKING A ROUX:
1. equal parts butter & flour, ACTUALLY equal parts fat & flour
2. cook in a heavy bottomed pot or pan
3. do not brown the butter or the roux
4. cook out, which means to cook the flour taste out of the roux
5. the longer that you cook out a roux, the less thickening power it has. this is why a brown roux is a weak thickener
6. this is explained below
2/3 cup sherry wine
3 cups water mixed with 2 tbsp seafood base =seafood broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
cayenne or white pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Old Bay or other seafood seasoning
1 cup shrimp, cut up
1/2 cup crabmeat
1/2-1 tsp paprika
Add the sherry and whisk into the roux. Immediately, add 1 cup seafood broth and whisk that also into the roux. It will be very thick, but thats ok. Make sure that you stir it, with a whisk, until it is smooth. Now it is safe to add the remaining broth. If you had added all of the broth at once, there would be a greater chance of it being a “lumpy” soup. What makes it lumpy are roux balls. A roux is an important part of a cream soup. So, please, follow my rules, and then you will have no problems with your soup. Just don’t try and rush it.
6. after the roux has cooked out, add a small amount of liquid at first and whisk in. Once that is smooth, you can add the remaining liquid or broth without having your soup full of lumps or roux balls.
After adding all the broth, bring the soup to a boil, then turn down heat so that the soup gently simmers. Whisk until smooth, then add the remaining broth, continuing to whisk. Finally, add the cream, and all remaining ingredients. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste for seasoning adjustments, such as salt. You probably won’t need any salt because of the salt in the seafood base. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
**For a lighter bisque, use more broth and less cream.