Seriously Simple: Shrimp bisque warms you up from the autumn chill
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 cups fish stock, chicken stock or water
1/2 cup very fine fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1. In a medium soup pot heat the butter on medium heat until melted. Add the onion, carrot and garlic; saute for about 2 minutes or until very slightly softened. Add the shrimp shells and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes or until the shells are bright red and the vegetables are softened.
2. Add the tomatoes and the stock and cook about 5 more minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and the stock is very aromatic.
3. Transfer the mixture in batches to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer the processed mixture in batches to a strainer or a food mill that has been placed over a clean medium soup pot. Push the mixture through the strainer or turn the food mill to ensure none of the ground up shells get into the soup. You simply extract all the flavor into the soup pot.
4. Reserve about 24 shrimp to finish the soup, and add the remaining shrimp and breadcrumbs to the strained soup. Cook the soup on medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked and the breadcrumbs have been absorbed. Using a hand blender, process the mixture, pureeing the shrimp with the broth until it is smooth. Alternately you can do this in the food processor or the blender.
5. Add the cream, sherry, salt and cayenne pepper to taste and heat for another 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Season to taste.
6. Cut the reserved shrimp into 1-inch pieces. Just before serving, add the remaining shrimp to the soup and cook for another minute or two, or until the shrimp are just cooked.
7. To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)