I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

One of life's mysteries solved....

After bashing Rachael Ray's magazine a few weeks ago for not having any recipes that I'd actually want to try, lo and behold here was this one beckoning me from the pages of another edition.  Years ago I took a summer cooking class at the community college and one of the dishes we made was lobster bisque.  It wasn't until then that I knew the answer to one of life's biggest mysteries: 

I've taken several vacation cruises in my life and there is always a "surf and turf" night on the menu.  I noticed that no sooner had I cracked my lobster tail out of its shell, the wait staff came around with shiny silver tongs and plucked the shell off of my plate.  Now you might think it was just a sign of excellent service and the fact that they don't want you sitting there having to look at a discarded crustacean body part while you dine, but if you notice that lobster bisque appears the next day on the menu and know that the shells are a vital part of preparing bisque, then you have the answer to the big mystery of why they snatch that shell up so quickly.

I dunno....maybe I'm the only one who ponders such things??  Either way, shrimp bisque is prepared in the same manner as lobster bisque and this recipe from RR is fairly easy and not so time-consuming.  Try it and free your mind of worrisome questions.

Shrimp Bisque
Serves 4
courtesy of Rachael Ray magazine

3 tablespoons EVOO 
1 pound medium shell-on raw shrimp
4 large sprigs thyme 
1 onion, chopped 
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 cup white wine 
2 tablespoons long-grain rice 
1/2 cup heavy cream 

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp, EVOO over high heat. Add the shrimp, season with salt and cook, stirring, until pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. peel the shrimp and transfer to a clean bowl. Return the shells to the pot. Add 8 cups water and 3 sprigs thyme, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 2- minutes. Strain the broth into a large glass measuring cup, pressing on the shells to extract any juices; discard the shells. 

Add the onion, celery and remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO to the pot; season with salt and a pinch of cayenne. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste then the wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the shrimp, broth and rice. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, skimming occasionally, until the rice is cooked, about 1 hour. 

Remove 6 of the shrimp and slice in half lengthwise; reserve. In a blender, puree the soup with the remaining shrimp in batches; return to the pot. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with more salt and cayenne. Ladle the bisque into bowls; garnish with the reserve shrimp and the remaining thyme.

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