We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mighty Tasty Thai Shrimp Bisque

by Michelle

   "Advice from the ocean: be shore of yourself, come out of your shell, take time to coast, avoid pier pressure, sea life's beauty, don't get tide down, and make waves."  ~Unknown

   I tell myself often that I should make more Thai food. I love the flavors of Thai cuisine but rarely do I make it at home. To make matters worse, we haven't found a great Thai place in Tucson. When Linda posted last week's recipe for her favorite Tom Khai Gai, it spurred me to think about a Thai inspired thick soup that I made many years ago that would be perfect to prepare for dinner in the heart of winter. Yes, it's even occasionally cold here in the old Pueblo. I suspected that I kept the recipe because it seems at times as if I throw nothing away. Locating the printed recipe simply became a matter of time and determination. Like the fictional character Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep in the film The Devil Wears Prada, I wish I had a secretary to "...find that paper I had in my hand yesterday." In my case, the time frame would be ten years ago.

I simultaneously made dinner and kept a watch towards the west and the rapidly setting sun.
One of the perks of living in Arizona are deeply hued sunsets.
Fortunately for we "Zonies" brilliantly tinged skies are not an unusual sight at the end of a day.
   When I finally locate the recipe I notice that it was published nearly 16 years ago. I quickly read through the recipe and it occurs to me how eating habits have changed since then. A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet was all the rage at that time. Now gluten-free has taken hold across the USA and Europe. Paleo is on the rise. People across the nation are learning how to cure chronic diseases by omitting refined sugar, cereal grains (except rice), legumes, and "bad fats" such as seed oils. Pasteurized milk should be avoided, but as long as you can tolerate dairy, fermented items such as butter, cheese and yogurt are healthy choices.
   My life has definitely come full circle when I'm taking a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and revising it to use full fat ingredients. I never thought I'd see that day, and yet here I am once again eating heavy cream and non-sugar cured bacon. Life is good. And, mighty tasty!

Thai Shrimp Bisque

   You will need to purchase unshelled shrimp for this recipe because the shells are used to make a shrimp stock. I ended up using one pound of shrimp that had the shells on, which I removed. I also used one pound of shrimp that was peeled, but still had tails attached. I removed the tails and added them to the heap of shells for the stock. This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, circa 1999.
   I quickly defrosted the shrimp under running water and removed the shells while the shrimp were still mostly frozen. I tossed the shrimp into a brine and let them rest until fully defrosted, about 45 minutes. Afterwards, the shrimp were drained and then immediately tossed with the marinade.
2 pounds raw unshelled shrimp, I used the 26-30 count of shrimp per pound
1-1/2 Tbsps grated lime rind (about 1 to 2 limes)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1-1/2 Tbsps ground coriander
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1-1/2 tsps coconut sugar or granulated sugar or 1 Tbsp honey syrup
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

Shrimp Stock:
2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup drinkable dry white wine
1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsps coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 medium celery stocks, diced
1 large carrot, quartered and diced
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk or additional coconut milk
1 Tbsp grated lime rind (one lime), plus juice
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 to 2 tsps fish sauce, preferably Red Boat Fish Sauce 40°N

finely shredded fresh basil

1. To prepare the marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and all ingredients for marinade in a bowl. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and 1 tablespoon tomato paste in a sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.

3. To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 8 minutes or until wilted. Add 1 cup shrimp stock, coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen any stuck vegetable bits. Bring to a boil. Lightly spoon rice flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and milk (or coconut milk) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime rind, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and season with fish sauce, to taste. Garnish with chiffonade of basil, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size 1-1/2 cups).

   "I make some of my best recipes with a simple homemade stock. Keep shrimp shells stored in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you have almost a gallon-bag full, you can make a stock in 30 minutes that you can use in soups and sauces. You can then freeze the stock in ice-cube trays."
                ~Emerille Lagasse, Chef


  1. I saw this today and made it tonight. It was delicious!! As is my norm, I made a few adaptations for ingredients I couldn't find or didn't have, and it was still scrumptious! It was a perfect meal for our wintery weather. Thank you Salvation Sisters!

  2. Looks delicious - could be adapted to be Whole30 compliant.


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