This is a light, simple and very flavorful bisque. The base can be prepared a day ahead and then finished 15 minutes before serving. All of this makes it a perfect first course for meals that are quite large, time consuming and filling. Especially if the house is full of hungry family and friends who have been around all day and already eaten all the appetizers.
Canned pumpkin puree is perfectly fine to use in this instead of fresh pumpkin. Just make sure it is not a can of pumpkin pie filling. If you use fresh pumpkin, steam it in the oven until it can be mashed into a smooth puree. Smaller shrimp can be used if 16-20 size are not available. The most important thing is the shrimp is as fresh as possible and definitely not from a bag in the freezer section. To cut sage leaves into ribbons, roll up the leaves and then slice them as thin as possible along the edge. Then unroll the slices to form long ribbons. Do not slice the sage leaves until just about ready to serve or it will begin to dry out on the counter. This will serve 6-8 people. The recipe is adapted from one on Epicurious from The Herbfarm Cookbook.
Pumpkin Shrimp Bisque
- 1 lb fresh 16-20 sized shrimp
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups fresh chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 ribs celery chopped roughly
- 1 small onion chopped roughly
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh sage cut into thin ribbons
Peel and devein shrimp. Place the shrimp in a bowl and refrigerate. Add three tablespoons olive oil to a four-quart sauce pan and heat over medium high. Add shrimp shells when oil is hot but not smoking and cook shells, stirring constantly, until deep orange, about five minutes. Do not burn the shells. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened. Add wine and boil it until mostly evaporated. Add stock, bay leaves, uncut sage leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer stock on low for 30 minutes. Strain stock, pressing all the liquid out of solids with a spoon as possible. Add stock back to pan and whisk in pumpkin, cayenne pepper and cream. Bring to a simmer and then cook on low until bisque begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon into soup and season with salt and pepper. If need be, add more cayenne as well. At this point the soup can be set aside and refrigerated for up to a day. To finish bring soup, back to a simmer over low heat. In a large frying pan heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat and add reserved shrimp. Cook until shrimp is just cooked through and no longer translucent but has not begun to curl. Divide shrimp equally into 6-8 bowls and ladle hot soup over them. The shrimp will cook the rest of the way in the broth. Sprinkle the ribbons of sage into each bowl and serve immediately.