Shrimp Bisque

 This past weekend was pretty fabulous.  The weather was wonderful (still hot, but wonderful) and we spent Saturday and Sunday morning walking and flying a kite on Tybee Island, which is the beach we live about ten minutes away from.  Just an all around great time with the family!  All that time on the beach had my husband and I craving something seafood-y and I have been dying to try the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for shrimp bisque.  But, before I go any further, I just had to share a couple of pictures of my cute family (shameless, I know!). 

 Max Monster heading straight for the water…he’s such a beach baby!
Love that my kids love the beach…
 Julesy-Bean…such a cheeser
 Go Jules ~ flying her kite! 
What a great way to end such a fun weekend, with a fantastic dinner.  The weather actually started to turn just yesterday ~ you could feel the humidity leaving and we just knew it was going to start to be a little cooler (thank goodness!  I mean one person can only take so much).  This recipe was just the perfect way to introduce fall ~ warm and creamy and so flavorful.  I faked out seafood stock by simmering some shrimp tales in chicken broth, but you can also follow Ina’s recipe exact by using seafood stock (she has a recipe to make homemade as well).  This was even better the next day for lunch.

I love that Ina recognizes in her cookbook that bisques are not typically simple to make…that they require a million steps.  She simplifies it for us already, which is honestly why I was able to make this rich and delicious soup in no time at all.  
Shrimp cooking away with green onions, garlic and sherry.  Looking good already… 
 Serves 4-6 
Shrimp Bisque

1 pound shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined (shells and/or tails reserved)

4 cups chicken stock 
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped green onions (both green and white parts)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place the shrimp shells and chicken stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain and reserve the stock.  Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Add the green onions and cook over medium-low heat until they are tender but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sherry and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes longer.  Transfer the shrimp and onions to a food processor and process until coarsely pureed.  
In the same pot, melt the butter.  Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling.  Serve hot with a French baguette and some garlic butter croutons.  
(Source: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)