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French Shrimp Bisque Recipe

French Shrimp Bisque Recipe

A bisque is a classic French soup. It is different from many soups because of its thickened creamy consistency. It contains typical soup ingredients such as vegetables, herbs and spices plus shellfish.

The cream is added near the end of the cooking time. Some bisques contain alcohol like brandy, cognac or wine.

While the word ‘bisque’ is used for a variety of soups, it most commonly refers to a type of soup that does not contain any shellfish which is thickened by pureeing the ingredients such as tomato bisque. This is not a true bisque. A bisque must contain shellfish to be classed as a French bisque.

Shellfish choices include lobsters, crab, shrimp, langoustine and crayfish or a combination. A key part of making bisque is extracting all the flavor from the shells before disposing.

Historically, bisque was thickened with rice. Roux is now used more frequently. A roux is a mixture of fat and flour that is used to thicken dishes. Bisque is usually served as an entrée with no side dishes although it may be accompanied by bread.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Bisque originated from France and has been a part of the cuisine since at least the 17th century. The word bisque is believed come from Biscay, the name of the bay off the coast of South West France.

Pureed shrimp bisque

French Shrimp Bisque Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A bisque is a classic French soup. It is different from many soups because of its thickened, creamy consistency.


  • Shrimp in the shell (small sized, cooked) - 2.2 lbs
  • Olive oil - 3 tbsp
  • Onions (sliced) - 2
  • Garlic (sliced) - 2 cloves
  • Carrot (sliced) - 1
  • Celery (sliced) - 1 stalk
  • Tomato paste - 2 tbsp
  • Butter - 3 tbsp
  • Flour - 1/3 cup
  • Brandy - 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice - ¼ tsp
  • Table cream - ½ cup
  • Water - 6 cups
  • Bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaves or cumin and coriander) - 1
  • Salt and pepper - to taste


  1. Remove the heads from the shrimp and peel away the shells, but keep both for the stock.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  3. Add the shrimp heads and shells, cook over medium heat, stirring often, until they are brown.
  4. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook gently until the onions soften.
  5. Add the bouquet garni, tomato paste, and lemon juice.
  6. Add the water stirring in gently and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to simmer, cover with saucepan lid, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  8. Strain the liquid through a sieve.
  9. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  10. Stir in the flour with a whisk and cook gently until golden in color.
  11. Stir in the brandy.
  12. Gradually stir in about half of the shrimp soup, using a whisk to keep the mixture smooth.
  13. Whisk in the remaining shrimp liquid.
  14. Simmer for about 5 minutes then strain into another saucepan if a smoother consistency is desired.
  15. Stir in the cream, then stir in the reserved shrimp and cook for a few minutes stirring frequently.
  16. Serve with some of the reserved shrimp to garnish.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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