Barefoot Contessa Shrimp Bisque

When Im craving the flavors of New England, or scouring the web for that perfect clam chowder recipe, I always find myself turning to the same person, the proclaimed queen of New England cuisine, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. My dad goes shrimping in the fall, so I always seem to find myself in a situation to get rid of some shrimp, which on occasion is a great luxury, but sometimes, I think there are only some many things you can throw shrimp on top of before you’re over it. So I thought I would try something new. Since the weather has been cooling off I thought some kind of seafood bisque or chowder would be the perfect way to get rid of some of that extra shrimp I have in my freezer, and I knew for a pretty cheap price I could make a huge pot of it and eat off of it for a few days! It was so delicious, and I think the longer it sat in my fridge the more flavorful it got, so when I had the last bit of it for dinner at the end of last week, since i had frozen some of it, it had that perfect seafood bisque taste! Definitely give this one a try if you are looking for something to change it up this fall or winter.


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned.

Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp.

Drain the shrimp shells and save the stock then add this to the large pot

Then add the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.


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