2 pounds medium/large shrimp, deveined
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup brandy, warmed
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrot, peeled & coarsely chopped
1 cup celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups dry white wine
4 cups seafood broth
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small sprig fresh tarragon
Pinch of cayenne powder
2 tbsp dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
Remove shells from 1 pound shrimp and set the shells aside.
Cut the peeled shrimp into 3 pieces each and place in the refrigerator until later.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat until oil starts to smoke.
Add the reserved shrimp shells and the remaining 1 pound shrimp in the pan. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until lightly browned.
Pour the brandy and warm for about 5 seconds. Light a match stick and wave it over the pan until brandy lights up into a flame. Shake the pan to evenly distribute the flames and flambé the shrimp.
Place the shrimp mixture from the pan in a food processor. Process the mixture for about 10-20 seconds until it looks like fine meal. Remove mixture from food processor and set aside in a bowl.
Put the carrot, celery, garlic and onion in the food processor and pulse about 5 times until finely chopped.
Put a Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the shrimp and vegetables in the pot, cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Slowly pour in the wine and seafood broth. Stir, scrape up the bottom and break any lumps.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until thickened.
Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Clean the pot and put it on the stove again.
Place the shrimp broth, cream, lemon juice, tarragon, and cayenne in the pot. Bring to a simmer and add in the reserved shrimp pieces. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes until he shrimp turn bright pink.
Remove from heat and discard the tarragon sprig. Season the bisque with salt and pepper. Stir in the sherry.
Serve in bowls garnished with chives.
Adapted from the Cook's Illustrated "Soups" cookbook.