Shrimp Bisque

A wonderfully flavorful, rich, creamy soup that is suitable as a starter for a special meal.
Adapted from a recipe from The Escoffier Cook Book, A. Escoffier, Crown Publishers, NY, 1941, p 236.
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Soups
Servings: 11 cups
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 2 pounds shrimp shell on
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup carrot diced 1/8"
  • 1/3 cup onion diced 1/8"
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • small bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3 cups no-sodium chicken broth preheated in microwave
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth preheated in microwave
  • 3 cups whole milk preheated in microwave


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley


  • Rinse shrimp well to eliminate small pieces of loose shells. Set aside portion of shrimp to use as a garnish for serving. Use judgement, depending on size of shrimp, set aside one large shrimp or a few small shrimp per serving. Remove shells from small portion of reserved shrimp only.
  • In 6-quart stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf; saute 8 minutes. Add shrimp still in their shells (excluding reserved portion for garnish) and cook until they are a bit underdone, about 4 minutes. Stir in brandy, wine, and pepper. Simmer until shrimp are cooked, then remove shrimp to bowl.
  • To remaining mixture in stock pot add 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth. Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer and reduce for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, using 1½-quart saucepan bring 3 cups unsalted chicken broth to a boil. Add reserved shrimp reserved for garnish and cook until done, about 5 minutes. Remove cooked shrimp to small bowl using slotted spoon. Add rice to hot chicken broth remaining in saucepan, simmer covered, approximately 20 minutes.
  • When shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove shells.
  • To 6-quart stock pot with vegetable mixture, add shelled shrimp and cooked rice with broth. Using an immersion blender or ordinary blender, process until very smooth. Stir in 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth and whole milk. Heat through to serving temperature. If desired, add a tiny amount of cayenne pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cooked shrimp and sprinkle with a small amount of minced fresh parsley.


11 cups should serve about 8.
Freezes well. When reheating, stir well to create an even, smooth consistency.