I should say it right from the beginning – this soup is not an easy and quick one you can mix up for dinner in few minutes. It’s laborious and time consuming, if you prefer to make it from scratch, as we do. You better be sure to really love the ones you’ll going to treat with this heavenly good, rich and smooth bisque.
Preparation time: 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes
500g medium size prawns (shrimps)*
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
1 large carrot, roughly grated
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
¼ lemon, juice only
45g /3 tbsp butter
25g / ¼ cup flour
45ml / 3 tbsp brandy**
100ml / ½ cup cream
salt and pepper
*You can use fresh or parboiled frozen prawns, but you need whole prawns (shrimps) for this recipe – heads and shells on.
**We use Marsala instead of brandy, and it works really well in this bisque.
If you start with fresh prawns, first de-vein them and rinse quickly. Boil in rapidly boiling salted water over medium heat for few minutes, until the flesh has lost its glossy appearance and is opaque through the center. The time will depend on the size of the prawns, but be careful not to overcook them. Drain, reserving the liquid.
When possible, remove the heads from the prawns and peel the shell away, reserving both for the stock.
In a large pan heat the oil over medium heat and add the prawn heads and shells. Stir frequently, until they start to brown. Reduce the heat and add onions, carrot and celery. Fry gently, stirring occasionally for about 5 -7 minutes, until the onions start to soften.
Add the liquid you boiled the prawns in, chopped tomato, lemon juice and bouquet garni. Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve.
In a heavy pan over medium heat melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook until just golden, stirring occasionally. Add the brandy and gradually pour part of the stock, whisking vigorously until smooth. Add the rest of the stock and season, if necessary.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain the soup into a clean sauce pan; add the cream and a little extra lemon juice to taste. Add the prawns and cook over medium heat until the prawns are warm.
Garnish with some fresh parsley leaves and serve warm.