Learn how to make a delicious, creamy seafood bisque with fresh shrimp, lump crab, rich cream and tons of delicious flavor! This recipe is incredibly simple to prepare, made entirely in one pot and totally customizable - make it with your favorite seafood or shellfish! This is more than just a soup - it's a luxurious, indulgent seafood experience that will keep you cozy and warm all season long! Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
1poundlarge Shrimp – peeled, deveined & shells reserved (SEE NOTES)
2Seafood Bouillon Cubes (mixed with 4 ¼ cups of water) – can substitute clam juice or seafood stock (SEE NOTES)
8-10Green Onions – sliced: white/light green parts only (about ¾ cup) (reserve dark green parts for garnish)
2medium Carrots – small dice (about ¾ cup)
2medium ribsCelery – small dice (about ¾ cup)
3clovesGarlic – chopped
1 ½tspEACH: Sweet Paprika & Old Bay Seasoning
1tspDried Thyme(not ground thyme)
¼ - ½tspCayenne – more or less to taste
Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
¼CupAll Purpose Flour – spooned & leveled
¼CupEACH: Brandy & Dry Sherry(or dry white wine)
1 ½ - 2CupsHeavy Cream – more or less to taste
8ouncesLump Crab Meat - DIVIDED
Optional Garnish: Chopped Parsley, Hot Sauce, Paprika
Make quick stock: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and sauté, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bouillon cubes with water and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the stock into large bowl, discarding the shells. Transfer the stock to a large (4 cup) measuring cup. You should have 3 ¾ cup of stock. If not, add enough water to make 3 ¾ cups. Set aside.
Sauté Shrimp: (Lightly wipe out pot if necessary) Return pot to the stove and melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until just cooked and opaque, about 3-4 minutes. Use a large-slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate. Set shrimp aside – reserving 4-6 shrimp for garnish, the rest will go back in the soup in step 6.
Sauté vegetables: Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot over medium heat. Add the onions (white & light green parts only), carrots and celery. Sauté (sweat), stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, old bay, cayenne and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add thickening agents + wine: Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the brandy and sherry, using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the brandy/sherry are almost evaporated.
Add stock: Slowly whisk in the reserved seafood stock – whisking continuously while you add the stock to the pan to prevent clumping. Bring soup to a simmer, then immediately reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Add shrimp & puree: Turn off the heat and add the shrimp to the pot (minus the shrimp you are reserving for garnish). Puree the soup using an immersion blender or transfer the soup in batches to a high-powered blender.
Add cream & crab: Return the heat to medium-low and stir in 1 ½ cups of the cream. Add half of the crab meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed throughout – don’t overcook or let the bisque boil! Taste and adjust for seasoning with more cream, salt and pepper if desired.
Serve: Divide the bisque among serving bowls. Top with reserved shrimp and remaining crab meat. Sprinkle with remaining scallions (dark green parts) and optional garnishes if desired. Enjoy!
Quick & Easy Method: To save a bit of time and prep, you can use (12 ounces) of cooked cocktail shrimp in this recipe instead! Skip step 1 and 2 of the recipe and use 3 ¾ cups of store-bought seafood stock.
Blending Soup: If using a high-speed blender to puree the bisque, make sure you do so in batches! Steam expands in the blender which can cause soups to splatter!! Fill the blender only 1/3 of the way up, vent the top and cover with a folded kitchen towel when blending.
Recipe Yield: approximately 64 ouncesServes: 4 as a main; 8 as a starterServing Size: 8 (1 cup) servingsNutritional information is an approximation based upon 8 (1 cup) servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.