Leftover raw shrimp shells lend a rich, briny flavor to this creamy soup.
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 6 cups uncooked shrimp shells
- 1⁄2 cups uncooked rice, preferably basmati
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1⁄2 cups plus 2 tbsp. brandy
- 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Crème fraîche, for garnish
- Chopped chives, for garnish
Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in an 8-qt. pot over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery; cover and cook, stirring, until soft, about 7 minutes. Increase heat to high and add the shrimp shells and rice; cook until shells are deep red, 2–3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in 1⁄2 cup brandy; return pan to high heat and cook until liquid has almost evaporated, 1–2 minutes.
Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine; add to saucepan. Add salt and 9 cups water; boil. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let soup cool.
Discard herb bundle. Purée soup mixture in batches in a blender. Set a sieve over a 6-qt. saucepan; strain, -discarding solids. Heat bisque over medium heat. Whisk in remaining butter, brandy, cream, lemon juice, and cayenne until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide bisque between bowls; garnish with crème fraîche and chives.