Monday, February 13, 2012

Tomato Basil Shrimp Bisque

Traditionally, a bisque is made with a broth from the shells of crustaceans along with seasonings and cream.  This dish is not quite a bisque since I didn't take time to boil the shrimp shells and I certainly didn't add cream.  I was planning on adding some coconut milk at the end to make the whole dish creamy, but when I went to taste it, the soup was so fantastically seasoned that I didn't want to mess with it.  I must warn you:  this dish takes a while to make (upwards of 2 hours) but I promise you it is worth every minute.  There is nothing better than homemade roasted tomato soup.  Adding shrimp just put this dish over the edge.  It's literally my new favorite soup.  Enjoy!

Roasting your own tomatoes makes this dish taste fresher than any restaurant soup

3lb tomatoes (I used about 8 large tomatoes), washed and cut in half
2tbs extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressed is best)
sea salt
2tbs butter, preferably organic or grass fed
2tbs minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1tsp red pepper flakes
2 yellow onions, diced
28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes are best)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 quart chicken stock
1c fresh basil, sliced thin
1tsp dried thyme
2lb large wild caught shrimp (I found mine at Trader Joe's), dethawed
5 celery stalks, sliced

1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
2. In a large baking sheet lined with nonstick foil, place your tomatoes in a single layer.  Toss them with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast your tomatoes for about 45 minutes (they should look very soft and starting to brown or blacken).
3. Meanwhile, start your soup.  In a large stockpot heat 2tbs butter over medium high heat.  Add your garlic, carrots and onions.  Saute, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and translucent.
4. Add red pepper flakes and give it a good stir.  Add your can of tomatoes, chicken stock, basil and thyme.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  When the roasted tomatoes are done, add them to the soup pot with the rest.  Simmer the whole thing for 40 minutes. 
5. While your soup is simmering, prep your shrimp.  You will want to remove the shrimp from their shells (if they have any) and devein them carefully with a knife (aka get rid of the black stuff).  Then slice them in half lengthwise (so it looks like 2 thin shrimp) and make sure they are completely deveined on both sides once again.  Cutting them in half makes them curl perfectly when boiled in the soup.  Place them in a bowl.
6. After 40 minutes all the veggies should be soft and the flavors will have reduced a bit and blended perfectly.  Using an immersion blender, blend your soup until it is completely smooth.  No immersion blender?  Take your soup in batches and puree it in a regular blender on low (be careful because the steam will try to pop the lid).
7. Once your soup is pureed, add your shrimp and celery.  Boil for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp turns white and curls.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve hot.  Enjoy!

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