E came home from work one day with photos of this recipe out of a magazine (original recipe adapted from Rachael Ray's magazine). He'd seen it and wanted to make it from the very beginning. It took us a few weeks before we caught up with posting enough to head out to the store for a whole new set of ingredients for this soup. It seems to me that the two soups we have made with shrimp so far (the first being our gumbo) have been the two most complicated and time consuming. Not that they were really hard by any standard, but there were many steps and with an unfamiliar ingredient like shrimp, it was a new challenge to learn how to make it just right. Fortunately, we were very pleased with the end result!
What you will need:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb medium shell-on raw shrimp
4 large sprigs of thyme
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp long grain rice
1/2 cup heavy cream (heavy whipping cream)
How to make it:
In a medium to large sauce pan, heat up 2 tbsp of the olive oil on high heat. Add in your shrimp and season with a dash of salt. Stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes until your shrimp are pink and firm. Remove the shrimp from the pot and place them in a medium bowl, allowing the to cool until you can hold them without burning your hand (very important). Peel the shrimp and place the now-clean shrimps in a clean bowl (or the same one) placing the shells back into the pot. Add 8 cups of water and 3 sprigs of thyme. Bring this broth to a boil, cooking for about 20 minutes. Strain the broth into a large measuring glass or bowl, press on the shells to get out any extra broth/flavor. Now discard the shells.
Add your onion, celery, and remaining tbsp of olive oil to the (same) pot. Add in some salt and cayenne to add flavor. Cook this mixture over medium heat until the vegetables are soft (about 5 minutes). Now stir in the tomato paste and the white wine. Bring soup to a boil and cook until the liquid is almost completely evaporated from the mixture. Add in your shrimp, broth and rice, bringing the soup to a simmer over low heat. Stir occasionally as you allow it to all cook for about an hour.
When the time has come, remove about 6 shrimp from the soup and set them aside. When they are cool, slice them in half lengthwise to garnish your soup later. Now, in a blender, puree the soup in small batches until it is a smooth, desirable consistency. Return the puree to the pot. Now, add in your heavy cream and bring the soup to a slow simmer on medium heat, adding in extra cayenne and salt to taste. When the temperature is the desired temperature, ladle into bowls and add in your shrimp halves. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and enjoy!
Other than being a long process (maybe we should start soup making earlier than 7:30 at night), it was a success! The soup was flavorful and creamy, just right with a side of crisp garlic bread for dipping. E and I both really enjoyed the flavor, and as always, enjoyed making it together!
What we would do differently:
I liked mine with a dash more of cayenne, but that was easily remedied in my own bowl to spare E from all the extra spice. E does feel like it would have been just a dash better with a little bit more cream to thicken it up. It would make it super tasty, more like a chowder, but it was yummy as - is. I'd like to perfect my shrimp cooking skills a bit more before trying this one again though!