Shrimp Bisque in My Sock

Posted by Brette in Food

Just to give you a little preview of where this is heading, other titles I considered for this blog were: Trail of Shrimp Bisque Tears, Shrimp Bisque Down the Drain, and Shrimp Bisque Gruel.

It all started out innocently enough. Shrimp bisque sounded like a lovely dinner and it is listed in Martha Stewart Living February in the index under “main dishes”.

Veggies and Shells

Veggies and Shells

So I peeled my shrimp and roasted the shells. That sounded like it would give some nice flavor. I cooked the shrimp, then cooked my vegetables (fennel, carrots and shallot). No problems. I added the shells to the mix, then added tomato paste, then cognac, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and parsley. By this time I was getting tired of this dish, but I brought it to a boil and let it simmer the required 25 minutes, then cooled it. By this time, half the day has gone by.

Adding Liquid

Adding Liquid

The next step is to puree it in a blender and then strain it. Here’s where things got a little wild. I decided to use the Cuisinart to puree. So there I am, emptying the pot into it, when I realize all the soup is running out the bottom of the Cuisinart bowl!!!! I have no idea why. We just bought a brand new bowl for that Cuisinart and it’s never leaked before. I quickly rip the bowl off and dump most of it back in the pot.  Then I have this

The Mess

The Mess

giant mess all over the counter to clean up – which is when I realized it had dripped down onto my feet. I did have the presence of mind to stop and take a photo partway through the clean up, just because it was oh so much fun.

It was right about at this moment that the dog chose to throw up. Please can someone explain to me why dogs MUST throw up on carpet? We’re in the kitchen with a big open floor with just a couple rugs around and the dog has to throw up on the carpet.

So I clean up both messes and decide to dig the blender out to give the pureeing another try. Of course the blender is too full, and the soup starts to run out the top. This is where I start to think this recipe is just cursed. So I quickly dump some out and try again. I strain it, and puree the

Straining the Puree

Straining the Puree

rest and strain that.

Now what I am left with is a pot full of very, very thin broth. In my book, shrimp bisque is a thick, creamy soup with actual pieces of shrimp. I didn’t understand why the recipe says to strain it – all the good stuff got strained out. But I decided to have patience because I wasn’t done yet.

Martha then says to heat it up, but don’t let it boil. Then add the evaporated milk.  Once that is heated, you ladle the soup into bowls and put some pieces of cooked shrimp in the bowl (they promptly sank right to the bottom so you can’t see them in the photo).

The Final Product

The Final Product

By this point I am tired of this damn soup and am very, very hungry. I even broke out my nice cobalt soup bowls and matching plate set for this. We sit down to eat it and it is like dishwater. No flavor, no consistency, just nasty, tasteless dishwater.

I think this may be the absolute worst Martha recipe I have ever made. The entire thing was dumped down the drain and we had cereal for dinner.

This soup has so many things wrong with it. It needs to be much, much thicker. It needs pieces of shrimp. It needs some actual flavor.  It needs a complete extreme makeover to even be worthy of putting in a bowl. Just writing about it is making me mad, mad, mad. Excuse me while I go change my socks.

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4 Responses

  • I just found your blog thanks to a review you did of the Moroccan Chicken which I cooked last night. I’ve been perusing your past posts. You are brave to try so many Martha projects. I must say, though, that this soup recipe is common of most of my attempts at Martha’s recipes – complicated and not worth the effort. Her food looks great but rarely tastes as great as it looks. I prefer Cook’s Illustrated. Of course, it doesn’t stop me from trying something every once in a while from her magazine. Thanks for your great posts and your great sense of humor.

  • Tara says:

    OMG! This is really the worst ever! It was painful to even just read through this listening to what a nightmare of a recipe this turned out to be! And the dog, too! What madness!

    Just a thought–I figure you probably already have one but not sure why you put the soup into your cuisinart food processor if you had one so maybe you don’t…Just recently I treated myself to a cuisinart hand blender and it is a dream. I wasted so much time, effort, and cleaning when I had to transfer my soup into my blender batch by batch before I got this. It really is nice to have. Here’s the one I got but they are all good I think:

    SmartStick® Hand Blender

  • I do have a hand blender (“boat motor’ as Emeril calls them!) but find that it does not do as complete a job as a Cuisinart or blender, especially for big batches. Things end up sort of lumpy and not completely smooth. Mine is several years old though, so maybe the newer models do a better job?

  • Sara – thanks for visiting! When I do a Martha recipe that isn’t good, my husband now says “typical Martha”. He thinks her food is complicated and almost always bland and tasteless.