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Prawn Bisque Recipe

This is a real special occasion soup - fit for the smartest event.
If over the course of months you save up the shells from any North Atlantic Prawns you buy, the end product will cost you very little.
Incidentally, the flavour of prawns bought shell-on is beyond compare to the best frozen shelled prawns you can buy, so the little extra work is worthwhile.

Ingredients

For 6 helpings:

1 lb/450gr Shell-on North Atlantic Prawns, plus ½ lb/450gr extra shells if you have them
4 pints/2.3 litres Water
1 fresh Chili
1 medium clove of Garlic
3 oz/90gr Butter
1 big Carrot, peeled and diced
1 large Onion, peeled and finely-chopped
1 bouquet garni - for the best use 'Bouquet Garni for Fish' from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk)
3 oz/90gr Rice
6 fresh Tomatoes, peeled (by dipping in boiling water), seeded and pulped - or 1 x 400gr tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 oz/30gr Tomato Puree
1 shot of Brandy (optional)
8 fl oz/200ml Dry White Wine
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
½ teaspoon (2ml) freshly-ground Black Pepper
4 fl oz/100ml Double Cream

Equipment needed: a food processor or strong big sieve and a wooden spoon

Method

Shell the prawns, keeping the shells and setting the prawns aside in the fridge.
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Put the prawn shells, the water, chili and garlic - plus any shells you may have saved up in the deep freeze, in a non-corrosive (so not aluminium) pan and bring it to the boil. Reduce the cooking speed to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, skimming off any froth as it comes to the surface.
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Drain the stock and discard the solids.
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Melt the butter, over a gentle heat, in a stainless-steel pan big enough to hold all the ingredients.
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Add the carrot and onion and soften them without browning.
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Add the peeled prawns, the flambé them with the brandy (if using). Add the white wine, then when it starts to bubble, the stock.
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Add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the cream. Cook for 20 minutes.
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Remove from the heat and take out the bouquet garni. Pass the soup through a strong sieve using the back of a wooden spoon, or process in a food processor in batches, don't overfill the bowl, as the soup might leak, and will be very hot.
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Return the soup to the pan and check the seasoning.

The soup can be served now, with the last minute addition of a little cream or refrigerated when cold for the next day. In either case, add the cream at the end.

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