Monday 24 January 2011

Bisque de crevettes

Medium sized cooked prawns known as crevettes roses are cheap and good quality here. I buy them often from the fishmonger at the market, as do many people. I always save the heads and shells for making tasty fish stock, but I don't always get around to it and can build up a collection of little bags of prawn bits that sit in the freezer for quite a while. So I was glad to come across this super economical recipe for prawn chowder that uses them all up. The recipe is from a little book I received as a free gift from the supermarket. It's called Un dîner presque parfait ('Pretty Perfect Dinners') and has all sorts of advice for food shopping preparation and consumption.

Prawn heads and carrots boiled up in wine and stock.
Here is my translation:

It is rated as an easy, affordable entree for 4 people, taking 15 minutes to prepare and 50 minutes to cook.


500g prawn heads and shells
1 shallot*
1 carrot
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp brandy
150ml white wine
300ml fish stock
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Peel the shallot and garlic and take out the germ.
  2. Finely chop the shallot, garlic and carrot.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the prawn heads and shells and stir well.
  5. Add the brandy, then the wine and stock.
  6. Dilute the tomato concentrate in 400ml water.
  7. Add it to the saucepan with the bouquet garni.
  8. Season with pepper.
  9. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Strain the mixture, pressing the prawn heads and vegetables well to extract every last bit of their flavour.
  11. Reheat the soup gently for a few minutes and add the cream.
  12. Taste to check the seasoning. You probably won't need to add salt.
The attractive and tasty finished soup.
*The original recipe calls for 1 belle échalote ('1 nice, good sized shallot'). No such specification is made for the carrot, so I assume any old carrot will do...



Niall & Antoinette said...

Wonder if this would work with vegetable stock?? The other half is extremely allergic to white fish (but not shellfish) so I can't use fish stock.
Must try it one day and see.

Susan said...

N&A: yes try it with veg stock or even a neutral meat stock like veal or pork.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I'd think a diluted chicken stock would work well too. Otherwise, do you buy fish stock for the recipe? Sounds good either way.

Diane said...

This is definitely on my list 'to do' when I get back to France. Yummy. Diane

The Beaver said...


I wonder whether a few saffron threads would change the flavour of the bisque

Susan said...

Ken: agreed re chicken stock. I had some fish stock in the freezer made from heads and spines.

Beaver: good idea!

Niall & Antoinette said...

Ken: Thanks,good idea. Will have a go with an adapted version soon.

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