Shrimp stock

Fish heads rolly polly fish heads eat them up um

Whenever I or someone I know takes a trip to the Gulf of Mexico I have a cooler full of shrimp brought back. Not only are they fresh and far tastier than anything at a grocery store they cost around $3 a pound for 16-20 count.

The one thing that makes them a little work is they still have their heads, and cleaning more than 20 pounds of shrimp can be time consuming. Of course shrimp heads make the best flavored stock available and it freezes so well that I always have at least a quart on hand ready for that special meal in December.

To clean a shrimp just grab the head and pull it from the body under cold running water. Rinse any yellow mustard from the body and toss it into a bowl of cold water to rinse again. If freezing the shrimp, remember to add a little water to suspend them in the bags once they freeze. You can not freeze shrimp with the heads on, but they do not need to be deveined before freezing. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks and in the freezer for up to a year.

Shrimp Stock

  • heads from 5-20 pounds of shrimp
  • 1 rib celery torn into pieces
  • 1 small onion chopped large
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 to 1 bottle dry white wine
  • Salt/pepper

Rinse shrimp heads with water and set aside. In a stock pot large enough to hold all the heads heat two tablespoons olive oil. Add heads and cook over medium heat until fragrant stirring often. Add wine, vegetables, spices and enough water to cover the heads by three inches. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface and then simmer on medium low for 45 minutes. Strain stock into a bowl and once cooled store in containers for freezer or refrigerator.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Food, Recipes, Seafood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Shrimp stock

  1. Kristy says:

    Hmmm…I like the sound of fresh shrimp. I really like the sound of fresh shrimp. Shrimp heads and yellow mustard-like goo…not so much. I might have to enlist some help with that part. πŸ˜‰

  2. TasteFood says:

    Sounds like a wonderful base for fish soup and stew.

  3. wok with ray says:

    Oh yes, those shrimp heads is where you will get all the precious flavors of shrimp. The broth stored in the freezer will last a long time. Very flavorful!

  4. Great tips! And it’s always fantastic to be stocked up on stock πŸ™‚

  5. eva626 says:

    that stock can come in handy..esp since it will last upto a year! great stuff

  6. Wish I lived closer to the gulf to get fresh shrimp as you do. But then again, I am not a hot weather girl.

  7. My stepfather ordered some organic shrimp that was raised on the farm. They were shipped overnight and when they came, their heads were still on. I tried to take one head off and I flew out of my mothers house lol. I thought the head moved lol. I have no idea why I’m telling you this but.. I thought I’d share lol. Shrimp heads do make the best stock.. I just don’t like looking at them lol.

  8. rutheh says:

    Shrimp have/had heads? I have only seen them decapitated. A little smattering of cocktail sauce where the head once was….
    Where do I think food comes from anyway? Those are some beady looking eyes. Are they alive when they arrive?
    Great photo and recipe. I never would have made it in pioneer times, skinning rabbits and such.

  9. Don’t think I will be getting any of those shrimps any time soon. Lovely stock recipe.
    Why though must you add a little water to suspend them in the bags once they freeze?
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  10. JamieAnne says:

    Fresh shrimp. Yum.

  11. Tandy says:

    Thanks for this – I love making stocks for use with my risottos πŸ™‚

  12. Joanne says:

    I get fresh wild shrimp here too and I love it! They are dirt cheap, and yes, a little more work, but very much worth it. Those shells have so much flavor, and the shrimp taste much better than the farmed ones.

  13. Good tips that have been duly noted – neat little post and I love the picture.

  14. This stock is sounding really delicious, but I wouldn’t know what to make with it…. recipes please! πŸ™‚

  15. niasunset says:

    Ah! This is what I can’t eat, I don’t know why. But as always your photograph hits me. Thank you dear Rufus, Have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

  16. Sissi says:

    Lucky you to have fresh shrimp! I only can buy frozen shrimp here and feel very lucky because there is a huge choice and they were mostly frozen raw. Maybe I will buy one day the shrimps with their heads on (I rarely take them) to use the heads in the stock.
    Your stock must be excellent. Bay leaves and white wine is what the shrimps really like!

  17. ceciliag says:

    this is exciting for me as i have been dutifully saving all the shrimp shells in the freezer to make stock, and NOW I have a good recipe. thank you greg and katherine!

  18. Kelly says:

    Oh dear. Eyeballs. A bit too much information for me I think :0 but I have no doubt it would make a fantastic stock!

  19. aFrankAngle says:

    Used shrimp stock in a creation also involving saffron and gnocchi. Dang … wish I still had the recipe.

  20. Karen says:

    No shrimp heads for me. When I buy my shrimp, they are headless but I do save all the shells in the freezer for when I want to make stock.

  21. Oh i am feeling pretty bad right now because I didn’t get around to doing my shrimp stock this year. I just forgot honestly but I will take a few containers of yours please- plus- your shrimp stock looks and sounds way better than mine! Seriously, beautiful and great recipe

  22. ChgoJohn says:

    Whenever I get to a coast, I go on a binge, knowing that I I cannot bring seafood home with me nor will I be able to get anything so fresh once I get back. A cooler full o’ shrimp? Life can be so unfair.

  23. Shrimp stock is not a family favorite while it is doing its magic (more than a little fishy smell in the house), but the results are worth it! Rich stock with unmatched flavor πŸ™‚

  24. Ah…shrimp stock. Just thinking of all the dishes to be made with it…

  25. Eva Taylor says:

    Lucky you, Greg! I love the idea of no waste in using the heads for the stock. Recently I used discarded shrimp tails to make a similar stock, but likely less flavourfull than those heads with the beady little eyeballs starring at you! I have a few containers in my freezer right now…and as you said, perfect for a light dinner in December!

  26. Courtney says:

    I love shrimp – i just don’t want to think about tearing their little heads off. I’m a wimp, I know.

  27. Greg, that’s the most beautiful photo…I just love it!

  28. egg me on says:

    Wow, that photo is something! Their little eyes make me nervous. But I do like shrimp, and can imagine how awesome homemade shrimp stock must taste.

  29. Yuri says:

    Nothing beats homemade stock πŸ™‚

  30. spicegirlfla says:

    I do purchase my shrimp with the shells and tails on and do save those for stock…but the head…oh no, that’s not for me!!! I’ll keep your stock recipe on hand tho; I love your photo..minus the eyes!!

  31. ItΒ΄s hard to get shrimp any other way here. I make stock like you – itΒ΄s so tasty isnΒ΄t it?! Anyway, we need it for our fish soup and paella!

  32. I have never made my own shrimp stock! I will definitely have to give it a try. And those fresh gulf shrimp must be AMAZING! Thanks for showing us newbs how to do this!

  33. Caroline says:

    Eep look at all of the eyeballs!! I admit, I’m a wimp. But, you’re right, the heads makes the stock that much more flavorful. Thanks for the tips! πŸ™‚

  34. Shrimp stock is essentially for a famous Singaporean noodle dish called hokkien Mee but we just boil the shells. You’ve just made me realise making it your way but add so much more flavour to it, cool!

  35. I love making this! Great recipe.

  36. Charles says:

    Haha – mustard goo! Brraaaaaaaaains! When we eat crayfish during the Swedish crayfish festival I know some people who like to spread this part on toast, saying it’s the best part πŸ˜€ I try to make a stock with those heads too. Usually with shrimps though I’m already mad after spending so long peeling and deveining the things that I just want to fling the remnants into the trash and get rid of the cursed things. Reading up a little about shrimps in the US it seems that it’s quite rare to find shrimps with their heads still on in stores… Seems to strange to me – it’s the norm for me here!

  37. wandered here from Smile Kiddo! think I’ll stick around.

  38. Your stock sounds splendid! Now I feel like your website is in HK. All sea creatures still have the head on it. After all how would you know what kind of fish it is if you did not leave the head on? Take Care

  39. Ah I miss living close to the ocean, being able to make purchases like this and enjoy homemade stock.

  40. I sure wish I lived where I had access to seafood often. I love it so much. Your stock looks wonderful.

  41. Don’t think I could take the eyes looking at me! πŸ™‚

  42. SimpleP says:

    Only you could make a pot of hairy eyeballed crustasians look so darn tasty πŸ™‚

  43. Pingback: Shrimp Risotto | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  44. Pingback: Linguine and Clams | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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