Baja Shrimp Bisque
from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John
1 1⁄2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
2 cups seafood stock
4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
1⁄4 cup Cognac
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Several small whole calamari, cooked and chives for garnish
Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and
simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add
enough water to make 3 cups.
Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle. Add the leeks
and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until
the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook
an additional 1 minute. Add the cayenne and shrimp and cook
over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Do not overcook or the shrimp will become rubbery. Add the
Cognac and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove 7 shrimp for chopping. Transfer the rest of the shrimp
and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and
process until coarsely pureed.
In the soup kettle, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook
over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden
spoon. Add the heavy cream and cook, stirring with a whisk,
until thickened, 2- 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the
stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until
hot. Do not allow to boil. Add the bits of chopped shrimp.
Season to taste, garnish and serve very hot.