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Seafood, Soup

Shellfish Bisque

The French colonies in the new world have that culture’s stamp left on their cooking. The bisque is one of their simplest and most versatile soup, that has been adapted to local cuisines the world over. You can find very similar bisques in the Gulf Coast.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole crayfish (about 6 cups of meat)
  • 1 1/2 pints half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp sweet butter
  • 1 heaping tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Tabasco or similar hot sauce

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Drop in whole crayfish and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  2. Remove crayfish and cool. Remove body meat and set claws and shells aside.
  3. Place crayfish meat in processor with Tabasco and enough half-and-half to moisten well. Reduce to a fine puree. Mix in butter and remaining half-and-half.
  4. Put crayfish shells in the processor and grind until fine. Add to water in the pot. Boil for 10 minutes, strain into a bowl. Discard shells, rinse out pot.
  5. Combine pot water with crayfish mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put all in rinsed pot.
  6. In a cup, mix cornstarch with cold water and mix until smooth. Bring soup up to a low simmer. If too thin, stir in a little of the cornstarch, and stir a moment to let it thicken. When soup reaches a syrupy consistency, turn off the heat and serve.

Variations:

  • When combining everything in the pot the final time, add 3/4 c whipping cream. This will make it creamier and thicker.
  • Grinding in a Scotch Bonnet pepper into the mixture is also recommended, though in small doses unless you know how hot you like it.
  • If you cannot find crayfish, then shrimp or lobster can also be used.
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