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Easy Shrimp and Crab Bisque

This is a wonderfully simple soup to make and a favorite with my clients and students. For the holidays, feast of seven fishes, parties etc. Too many Bisques require one to cook the crab or lobster, crush the shell, and continue cooking for several hours, grind in food processor and then sieve resulting mess. Yes, it can taste wonderful but you can also understand why restaurants charge the prices they do for a bisque. Very popular with my clients for dinner parties, as well as my students. Fabulous flavor, fairly easy.

About 6 Dinner Party portions - i.e. about 6 cups

One of my February 2011, December 2016 recipes for National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (now BeyondCeliac) and in my Delicious Gluten Free E cookbook.

Gluten Free Easy Shrimp and Crab Bisque

If you can get fresh or frozen crab do so. Don’t use imitation crab. You could also substitute frozen lobster. Substitute ½ - 1 cup of Chardonnay for the stock. Make fish stock if you want from fish bones, heads, skins. Don’t chop raw vegetables in food processor as they will be chopped too small for the immersion blender to purée them. And of course the heavy cream is the finale. That's why so many restaurant dishes taste better than at home, since at home we aren't quite as lavish in the use of butter and cream as restaurants but that's the major difference in many dishes. Use unsweetened Asian coconut milk instead of cream if you are lactose intolerant. The dish will not be as rich, but still very good. This is easily made a day in advance, and can easily be multiplied up for a large party.

½ stick (2oz, 56g) butter or olive oil, but butter is richer flavored

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs or stalks of celery, washed, quartered length-wise and cut into 1/2 " pieces.

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 c (16 fl oz, 480 ml) water

1 x 8oz (240 ml) can Hunts no salt tomato sauce – should be gf

1 teaspoon (5ml) gf chicken stock concentrate - I use Orrington's labeled gf.

1 tablespoon (15 ml) gf tomato ketchup – I use Heinz

coffee filter filled with ½ teaspoon dry thyme, 1 bay leaf, some fresh parsley stalks and tied shut

freshly ground pepper

1 cup (240ml) heavy cream, light cream or Asian style coconut milk - I use Chaokoh or Arroy-D coconut cream.

grated rind of ¼ lemon

2 tbsp (30ml) sherry – I use Taylor's Golden Sherry

1/3 lb (140g) cooked shrimp, remove shells. I used 100-150 size cooked salad shrimp-so count about 50 shrimp and remove tails. They should have the rest of the shells removed. If you can get raw, shelled shrimp or tiny cooked shrimp do so. Small whole shrimp will visually look better. Raw shrimp will give more flavor to the soup but you will probably have to buy them with shells still on. I also buy 10oz ring (only about 4-5 oz without cocktail sauce and tails) of cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce since the shrimp tend to be vacuum packed and don’t develop freezer burn)

2 x 6 oz (2 x 170g) cans of decent crab not the cheapest, well drained, or 6-8 oz fresh or frozen crab, thawed. I used 2 x 6 oz Chicken of the Sea.

dash of fresh grated nutmeg

dash of cayenne pepper if you like a bite to your soup.

Fresh, chopped parsley to garnish.

1 tbsp (15 ml) gf cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp (30ml) cold water

You can of course add even more shrimp and crab.

1. Melt butter in a 3 quart (3 ltr) non stick pan. Add onions, garlic, carrot and celery and cook, covered over a low heat, for about 10 minutes until softening. This is known as sweating the vegetables and allows more flavor to develop rather than just cooking them immediately in stock.

2. Add the water, tomato sauce, stock concentrate, tomato ketchup, coffee filter of herbs and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook covered for about 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3. Remove herb packet and then use an immersion blender and purée the vegetable and stock mix directly in the pan.

4. Add the lemon rind, nutmeg, cayenne if desired, cream and cornstarch mix.

5. Add sherry and bring back to just under a boil, simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add thawed shrimp, drained crab and simmer for 1 minute.

6. Turn off heat, add parsley and let sit for a few minutes. You don’t want to boil any soup with a milk mix added as it can break up. Too much heat will also toughen the shrimp and also will prevent you appreciating the flavor of the soup.

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