Cooking with Oonagh - Free Recipe




Shrimp and Crab Bisque

Shrimp and Crab Bisque

This is a wonderfully simple soup to make. Too many bisques require one to cook the crab or lobster, crush the shell, and continue cooking for several hours, grind in food processor and then sieve resulting mess. Yes, it can taste wonderful but you can also understand why restaurants charge the prices they do for a bisque.

If you can get fresh or frozen crab do so. Don't use imitation crab. You could also substitute the containers of frozen lobster. Substitute ½ - 1 cup of Chardonnay for the stock. Make fish stock if you want from fish bones, heads, skins. Don't chop raw vegetables in food processor as they will be chopped too small for the immersion blender to puree them.

Ingredients - makes about 6 Dinner Party portions

  • ½ stick (2oz) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs or stalks of celery, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 c water
  • 1 x 8oz can Hunts no salt tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock concentrate (I buy McCormick brand at Costco about $4 for 1 lb)
  • 1 teaspoon white wine Worcestershire sauce (lighter colored and flavored than regular)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • coffee filter filled with teaspoon dry thyme, 1 bay leaf, some fresh parsley stalks and tied shut
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups light cream
  • grated rind of ¼ lemon
  • 1/3 lb cooked shrimp, remove shells (I used 71-90 size-so count about 25 shrimp and remove tails. They should have the rest of the shells removed. If you can get raw, shelled shrimp or tiny cooked shrimp do so. Small whole shrimp will visually look better. Raw shrimp will give more flavor to the soup but you will probably have to buy them with shells still on. I also buy 4oz ring of cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce since the shrimp tend to be vacuum packed and don't develop freezer burn)
  • 2 x 6 oz cans of decent crab not the cheapest, well drained, or 8 oz fresh or frozen crab, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • dash of fresh nutmeg
  • dash of cayenne pepper if you like a bite to your soup.
  • Fresh, chopped parsley to garnish.


1. Melt butter in a 3 quart non stick pan. Add onions, garlic, carrot and celery and cook, covered over a low heat, for about 10 minutes until softening. This is known as sweating the vegetables and allows more flavor to develop rather than just cooking them immediately in stock.

2. Add the water, tomato sauce, stock concentrate, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, coffee filter of herbs and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook covered for about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

3. Remove herb packet and then use an immersion blender and puree the vegetable and stock mix directly in the pan.

4. Add the lemon rind, thawed shrimp, drained crab, nutmeg, cayenne if desired, and light cream.

5. Add sherry and bring back to just under a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

6. Turn off heat, add parsley and let sit for a few minutes. You don't want to boil any soup with a milk mix added as it can break up. Too much heat will also toughen the shrimp and also will prevent you appreciating the flavor of the soup.


This soup can be made the day before,refrigerated and reheated gently. For my taste, no additional salt is required.


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Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers a Personal Chef service, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, and makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.
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