Holiday means a lot of parties and feasts. I don’t want to eat a full meal before going to a party. Otherwise I won't have enough room in stomach for all the delicious foods at the party. This shrimp pumpkin bisques is a good option for a light meal like this. Another good thing about this recipe is that I can prepare most of the work ahead of time, even the night before. The next day, I just need ten more minutes to finish up the cooking -- this also means that I will have enough time to dress for the party.
It is also a good choice for a weekend brunch. Just pair the soup with a few pieces of baguette or the sweet potato and scallion latkes I shared recently (recipe here).
The term bisque refers to a particular type of soup made with cream. Shrimp or lobster is the typical star of a bisque. The meaning of the term has broadened in recent years to include creamy pureed vegetable soups as well.
Shrimp Pumpkin Bisque
1.5 TS unsalted butter
1.5 TS olive oil
1 medium sweet onion (Vidalia onion recommended), thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 small pumpkin (or butternut squash), thinly sliced
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, and coarsely chopped, shells reserved
4 plum tomatoes, about 1 pound in total weight, coarsely sliced/chopped
4 cups (32 fl oz/1 L) chicken stock and/or water
½ cup plain bread crumbs (fresh bread crumbs preferred)
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 TS dry sherry (or your favorite cooking wine)
salt (to taste)
pinch of cayenne pepper (or other crushed pepper flakes) (optional)
2 TS finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (toasted) (optional)
In a large deep saucepan/pot (with thick bottom preferred) over medium heat, melt the butter, then immediately add olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add in shrimp shells and sauté until the shells are bright pink, about 3 minutes.
Add pumpkin slices, continue sauté until half softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are softened.
Add in stock, cover the pot, and bring the mixture to boil. Lower the heat and keep it simmering until all pumpkins slices are thoroughly cooked and softened.
Remove all the shrimp shells and discard (this needs some patience. It may take 5 minutes to complete this task.) [All the steps up to here can be prepared ahead of time.]
Turn heat to high, heat up until boiling, add in half of the shrimp and bread crumbs, cook until the shrimp turn pink and are opaque throughout and bread crumbs have been absorbed, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat, puree the soup with hand blender (alternatively, if you do not have a hand blender, puree the soup in batches with regular blender or food processor, and then return the puree back to the pot).
Return the pot to high heat, add the heavy cream, sherry, salt to taste, and the cayenne pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjusting the seasoning.
Add the remaining half shrimps to the soup just before serving and cook in high heat until they turn pink and are opaque throughout, 1-2 minutes longer.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish with the parsley. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds on top of the soup. Serve immediately.
Top the soup with some crispy fried onion, and serve with a piece of baguette, or a piece of sweet potato and scallion latkes I shared recently (recipe here).
I purchased this Cuisinart Hand Blender a few years ago and it has been one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.
It is much easier to use than a regular blender or food processor to complete the task in a recipe like this Shrimp and Pumpkin Bsique . I cook everything in one pot, and puree the soup right in the pot, and I'm completely finished. This blender pureed the squash and shrimp as smoothly as my giant heavy-duty Cuisinart processor - without the hassle of moving the food back and forth - save a lot of time and cleaning efforts!
Rinsing the blade takes minimal work, and clean-up is finished! It's powerful, gets the job done and clean-up really is SO EASY--so much easier than trying to thoroughly clean a food processor or a blender.
Make sure that you hold the hand blender down so it doesn’t splash.
Make sure not to use a pan that has a non-stick coating.
Alternative sides to serve with/pair with the soup:
* Top the soup with some crispy fried onion:
* Serve with a piece of baguette:
* Or serve with a few pieces of sweet potato and scallion latkes: