Prawn bisque

  • 450g large prawns, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 80g tomato paste
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 35g plain flour
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 65ml dry sherry
  • 65ml Cognac or brandy
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • 200g chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 45ml good olive oil
  • 1L seafood stock
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1) Place the prawn shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 1L.

2) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook for 10 minutes over a medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and prawns and cook over a medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer.

3) Transfer the prawn and leek mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

4) In the same pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over a medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the single cream and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed prawns, the stock, tomato puree, salt and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.

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