Monday, August 10, 2015

Saffron & Cognac Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp, Soup, Bisque, Saffron, Cognac Creamy

My family knows by now that when they travel abroad the only thing I want is a spice, their choice, from where ever they went.

My daughter Eryka went on a European cruise several years ago and she brought me a beautiful assortment of spices from Tunis. A truffle and olive oil from Italy. Saffron from Spain. To say I was is heaven is an understatement.

Recently, my brother Eddie, who I affectionately call Mr. Ed, traveled to Spain.  Of course, he knew exactly what I wanted ... saffron. And that is what he got me. Thank you Mr. Ed!

Those beautiful, fiery, orange-red threads inspired this recipe.  The intensely flavored stock is made from the shells of the shrimp. The bisque gets its rich velvety texture from cream. And the warm deep flavor of the cognac adds that extra depth of flavor to the bisque. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
  • 1 lb. of shrimp, peeled and deveined.  Set peel and tails aside. Discard veins.
  • 1 quart seafood stock
  • 2 shallots, cut in half, leave skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 shallots finely diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Shrimp
  • 1/4 cognac
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper, taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, palm full, chopped
  1. To a 5 quart stock pot add shrimp peel, tails, shallots and the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 
  2. Strain thru a fine colander and discard shallots, peel and tails. Set aside stock.
  3. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add diced shallots, cook 10 - 12 minutes, stir often. Do not brown, you just want them very soft. 
  4. Add garlic and 1 minute, stirring during cooking time
  5. Add cayenne and shrimp, cook for 3 minutes. Stir often
  6. Pour in cognac and sherry, stir to incorporate and cook 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat
  7. Remove shrimp and shallots from pan. Rough chop the shrimp, reserve about 1/3 cup of the chopped shrimp.
  8. Using the same pot, add butter allow to melt over medium low heat then add flour, stir 2 minutes. 
  9. Stir in cream, half and half nutmeg and saffron. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly till  almost thickened.
  10. Add shallots, shrimp and stock, stir through and cook until thickened.  
  11. Using either an immersion blender stick or a regular blender, blend through until smooth and creamy.

To serve ladle each bowl with soup,  and then equally divide the reserved 1/3 cup shrimp and spoon over top of each bowl, sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with warm bread of choice, a light salad and your favorite wine. Cheers!


  1. Jackie this is a very beautiful recipe!! It combines shrimps and saffron which is a great match!! We love it! :)

    1. Shrimp and Saffron are a natural together! It also reflects my family's heritage from Spain.
      Thanks so much for commenting :-D