A bisque can be a lovely thing. It is of French origin and “Larousse Gastronomique” insists that it is made with shellfish puree, white wine, Cognac and fresh cream.
There may be a connection between the French word, bisque, and the Spanish province of Biscay. A recipe similar to what we use today can be found as far back as the 17th century, but crawfish was the main ingredient. Today any type of shellfish will do.
1 pound shell on shrimp
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 onion quartered
1/2 bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1-2 chopped cloves of garlic
2 cups cream
3 cups shrimp stock
1/3 cup flour
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes
Boil four cups of salted water and add the shrimp, just as soon as they turn red remove and set aside to cool. Once they are cool, remove the shells and set the meat aside. Add the shells back to the water, along with the quartered onion, 1/2 a bell pepper and 1/3 cup chopped celery. Simmer for 30 minutes or so to make the stock. Add butter to a sauté pan, add the chopped onion and cook for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, add the flour, then whisk in the cream. Add a shot of Cognac, just to appease the French. When it is smooth whisk in 3 cups of strained stock. Simmer until thick, taste and season as necessary. Add the shrimp and place all of the bisque into a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve warm, with buttered croutons.
If you like, reserve some of the shrimp meat to serve as a garnish.