Prawn bisque

Prawn bisque

Serves 6
Cuisine type: French
Cooking time: More than 1 hour
Course: Soup
Cooking method: boil/steam

Prawn bisque

60g butter
2 large (400g) onions, chopped coarsely
750g uncooked prawn shells and heads
1 medium (120g) carrot, chopped coarsely
4 medium (560g) tomatoes, chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/3 cup (65g) long grain white rice
¾ cup (180ml) dry white wine
¼ cup (60ml) brandy
1 tarragon sprig
3 cups (750ml) water
300ml cream
3 teaspoons lemon juice
fresh chervil for garnish, optional

NOTE: You need 1.5kg of uncooked prawns to get 750g shells and heads. Reserve prawn meat for another dish, such as the prawn skewers with lime and green onions. If prawn meat is not required for another recipe, chop it coarsely and add to bisque at the reheating stage, simmering for about three minutes. This recipe can be made a day ahead.


Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft but not coloured.

Add the prawn shells and heads, carrot, tomatoes, tomato paste and rice; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and brandy, bring to the boil; simmer, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Add the tarragon, water and cream. Return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Mash the solids in the mixture with a wooden spoon or potato masher to extract as much flavour as possible.

Strain mixture through a large sieve into a large clean saucepan. Push the mixture through the sieve using the back of a spoon; discard solids in sieve.

Return soup to the heat, stir over medium heat until hot. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve topped with chervil, if desired.

Suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.

Cook's note

If the bisque thickens when left standing, thin it with a little stock or water before reheating it gently.

Photography by Alan Benson.

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