Guest Author - Sandie Jarrett
Although Cajun Shrimp and Corn Bisque requires a little time to prepare, the end result is well worth the extra effort. Bisque is simply a thick, rich soup made with cream. Although perfect for everyday, as a first course, bisque can be a very elegant way to begin a special meal. Serve bisque with rich buttery rolls and sweet creamery butter.
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup flour
4 cups homemade or boxed low sodium chicken, fish stock or shrimp stock**
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups small shrimp, cooked, shelled, and deveined
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
Cajun Seasoning, optional
Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, until the roux begins to color. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the roux. Stir and cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
Gradually add the stock to the vegetable roux mixture and whisk until smooth. Bring the liquid to a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary. Add the corn, thyme, salt, cayenne and pepper and allow to the mixture to simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
Stir the shrimp, milk, and heavy cream into the simmering liquid and heat until hot. Once you have added the milk and cream, never allow the bisque to come to a boil!*
Ladle the hot bisque into warmed soup plates and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and green onions. Dust with Cajun seasoning, if you wish.
As an alternative to parsley and green onions, you can garnish the bisque with a sprig of fresh thyme.
*Once you have added the milk and cream, the bisque will curdle if allowed it to come to a boil.
**Although homemade stock is usually best, there are many good boxed stocks available at the grocery store. Many commercially available stocks contain a lot of salt so whenever possible, use a stock that is low in sodium. If low sodium stock is not available, taste the finished bisque before adding salt.
As a general rule, never reduce stock unless it is low in salt. The concentrated liquid will be inedible.
Making homemade shrimp stock will produce the best flavor but takes advanced preparation.
Easy Shrimp Stock Recipe
Makes about 1 quart of stock
2 pounds unpeeled fresh, raw shrimp
1/4 small onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 quart water
Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, and then remove from heat. Allow the shrimp to cool in the water, then strain stock, reserving liquid. Discard seasonings.
Stock is ready to use or can be frozen for future use. Unused stock can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days.