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Ham Bone Soup

Ham Bone Soup

Not many options to use a big old ham bone if you don’t want to make a pot of beans. Which I definitely don’t. Thank you New York Times for this amazing soup recipe so I didn’t toss it.

I made a few changes, of course. I found really cooking the heck out of the ham bone is the way to get the marrow to release into the broth, which is stunning. The cabbage turns into something deliciously unrecognizable and silky.

I didn’t add the beans and didn’t miss them. Admittedly, they would add a little more heartiness if you so desire.

Ham Bone Soup – Serves 10


4  strips bacon, thick cut, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3  large carrots, peeled and sliced
2  celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1  large onion, peeled and diced
3  garlic cloves, finely chopped
1  ham bone, most extra meat trimmed off, but keep it and add it to the soup at the end
1  bay leaf
8-10 springs of thyme, tied up into a bundle
2 ½  teaspoons salt
head green cabbage, cut into 1/2 pieces
1 box chicken stock
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1  small bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped into bite-size pieces, 6 cups
Juice of 1 lemon
Black pepper, to taste
Hot sauce or sherry | balsamic | apple cider vinegar, to taste


Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pot. Stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cabbage and cook 3-4 more minutes. Drop in the ham bone, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the bay leaf, thyme bundle and ham bone.  Your liquid should be reduced quite a bit. Add the chicken stock, beans, lemon juice, any extra ham meat from the bone and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the kale and simmer until soft, but vibrantly green, about 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce or sherry, balsamic or apple cider vinegar. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Twitter: The Secret Ingredient to the Best Soup Recipes

Soup is a warm and comforting dish that is perfect for cold and rainy days. It’s no wonder why people are always on the lookout for new soup recipes to try. With the rise of social media, Twitter has become a platform for sharing and discovering delicious soup recipes.

Twitter has become a hub for food enthusiasts, chefs, and home cooks alike. With a quick search, you can find hundreds of soup recipes to try out. Whether you’re looking for a classic chicken noodle soup recipe or something more unique like a spiced pumpkin soup, you’re sure to find something on Twitter.

The best thing about Twitter is that it allows you to connect with other soup lovers and get feedback on your recipes. You can share your own soup recipes and get feedback from others who have tried them. You can also follow other food bloggers and chefs to get inspiration for your next soup creation.

But it’s not just about sharing recipes. Twitter is also a great platform for discovering new ingredients and spices to use in your soup recipes. By following food and spice companies, you can get new ideas and inspiration for your soups.

Another way Twitter can help with your soup-making journey is through its hashtag system. By using hashtags like #souprecipes or #souplover, you can easily find other soup enthusiasts and discover new recipes to try. You can also share your own soup creations with these hashtags and get more exposure for your recipes. As a last resort there is also the option where you can buy Twitter retweets from

In conclusion, Twitter is a valuable tool for anyone looking to expand their soup recipe collection. With its vast network of food enthusiasts and chefs, it’s no wonder why it has become a go-to platform for discovering and sharing delicious soup recipes. 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My best Beef Bourguignon

Guys, this shit is crack. Dip your bread all day long, crack.

It’s Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, Dinner party worthy. Or stay in your PJs on a cold day and eat it all yourself worthy.

Be prepared, this isn’t a quick meal. I always make it the day before and finish it the next day. Or I start it in the morning and finish it right before dinner. It gives time for those flavors to develop.

This recipe has been through years of tweaks and it’s now My best Beef Bourguignon.

There are a few secret weapons to share and they can all be kept in the pantry.

  1. Cognac. Get the small bottle, it’s cheap.
  2. French Demi-glace, 1.5 Ounce
  3. Kitchen Basics beef broth. Available at Kroger and Central Market.
  4. Mutti Italian Double Concentrate tomato paste.
  5. Fresh pearl onions, so special. 2nd choice – Cipollini onions. 3rd – frozen.

My best Beef Bourguignon – Serves 6-8


2.5 – 3 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large yellow onions, quartered (will be removed after braising)
2 large carrots, unpeeled and cut into large pieces (will be removed after braising)
2 cloves garlic smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup cognac
1 bottle pinot noir
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Classic French Demi glace -1.5 ounces, 1/2 container
6 cups beef broth (2 boxes total needed)
1 pound fresh boiler/pearl onions (or frozen)
1 pound mushrooms brown crimini
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup arrowroot flour (or corn starch – but use 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup beef broth


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on both sides. Remove the seared cubes to a plate until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Add the onions, carrots, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Turn the heat down and carefully add the Cognac. Cook for a few minutes until the onions have absorbed a good amount of the cognac.

Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Put the meat back into the pot with the juices from the plate.

Add the bottle of wine plus 6 cups of beef broth to cover the meat. Stir 1/2 container of demi-glace.

Add thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.


In the meantime, prep the fresh pearl onions. Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the onions for 2 minutes. Drain onions in a colander and use a small paring knife to remove the skins. The slight blanch makes this easier!  Set aside.  (If making ahead, store in a plastic bag in the fridge). If using frozen, skip all together and add onions as stated below.

Remove the stew from the oven when meat is tender. (This is where I let it come to room temp & place in the refrigerator overnight, as it’s always better the next day. If you are making and serving same day, pick up below.)

With a slotted spoon, remove large onion pieces, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. They were simply being used to develop the broth. Now they are cooked to death. Get rid of them, we are adding new ones next.


Place dutch oven on burner on medium heat and let come to a simmer slowly.

Saute the mushrooms and carrots in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew.

Add the pearl onions.

Combine 4 tablespoons of arrowroot flour and 1/4 cup beef broth or water and combine until a paste forms. Stir into the stew to thicken. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve with tons of bread.

Butternut squash, short ribs & black bean chili

This experiment turned out WAY better than I thought it would. The complex flavors from the cocoa powder and ancho chili powder are a perfect balance with the rich short ribs. The nutty butternut squash is a winner to balance the heat.It makes a ton so call some friends!


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 pounds short ribs, bone in
  • 1 leek, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T ancho chili powder
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ T cumin
  • 1 can Rotel (I used hot with habanero)
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (pulverized with your fingers)
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 14 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt & pepper and add to pan. Cook about 8-10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and leeks and cook another 8-10 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chili powder, cocoa, and cumin and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the rotel, tomatoes, beef broth & water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.

Add butternut squash and simmer for another hour, until beef and squash are tender. Remove the ribs from the pot & shred the meat. Discard the bones. Add the shredded meat back to the pot with the black beans and cook for 15 more minutes.

Serve with cornbread & garnish with cilantro!

Tuscan Bean Soup with Chicken, Sausage & Kale

I’m always inspired by food when I travel and Tuscany has been my focus since I’ve been home. This soup is my combination of 2 memorable dishes in Tuscany… Dario’s beans & a bowl of ribollita for lunch on the street in Florence.

Dinner with Dario Cecchini in Panzano was the most memorable experience. He’s impressive being an 8th generation butcher with a big personality. His restaurants are fun & they are an experience… not just a meal. Surprisingly it wasn’t the 5 courses of meat I couldn’t forget … it was the beans! Here’s how it starts:

– Small bowl with some Tuscan salt & herbs (his blend**)
– Generous drizzle of olive oil
– Splash of red wine vinegar

This is the dipping vehicle for your carrots & raw vegetables. Then you find the bowl of bread and decide what the hell – dip it! Just when you think your bowl can do no more… a big ladle of white beans & broth are ladled into the remaining oil/vinegar/salt bowl.

Divine. That’s all the inspiration I need!

Buon appetito!


  • 3 stalks celery – diced
  • 4 carrots – peeled & diced
  • 2 leeks – cleaned, rinsed and cut into ½ moons
  • ½ yellow onion – diced
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage – natural sausage casing removed
  • 4 chicken thighs – skin-on & bone-in
  • 1 cup Pinot Grigio wine
  • 8 -10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bag Tuscan kale – washed
  • 2 cans cannellini beans – rinsed
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper


Remove the sausage from DCW Casing and tear it by hand into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 4- or 5-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.

In the same pot, add the chicken thighs and sear until brown on all sides. Transfer to the same plate as the sausage. Set aside for later.

Add 1 Tbs. olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium high, and add the onion, celery, carrot, leeks, onion, crushed red pepper and garlic . Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium and add the sausage & chicken along with any collected juices. Cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and pull the meat from the bone. Discard the skin & bones. Add the chicken meat back to the pot with the drained & rinsed beans.

Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper & add the vinegar.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil & a splash of red wine vinegar. Crusty bread is a must!


Cioppino is a fish stew originating from Portuguese and Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach section of San Francisco in the late 1800’s. It’s a collective pot of leftover catch of the day from the local fisherman. The story is that wharf cooks would call for the fishermen to “chip in” some of their catch to the collective soup pot. Typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish were thrown into the tomato and wine broth.

Use whatever fish and seafood combination you like. Shrimp, scallops, halibut and mussels are my favorites and what I chose.

A few tips.

  • Infusing the stock with the shrimp shells imparts a lot of flavor – so do the extra work and peel & devein your own shrimp just for the shells.
  • Pernod (anise flavored liquor) is a classic flavor in Cioppino. If you don’t have any (or don’t want to spend the money on a bottle) – chop a bulb of fennel and add to the onions when cooking.
  • Fish Stock – so maybe you can’t find fish stock in your store. If not, use equal parts of bottled clam juice & water.


  • 32 ounces (2 quarts) fish stock, Kitchen Basics is my favorite
  • Pinch saffron
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand (or pureed in food processor)
  • 2 cups white wine (Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup pernod
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 pounds mussels
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops, foot removed
  • 2 pounds halibut fillet, skinned, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • 1 loaf crusty bread


Heat fish stock in a small saucepan. Add reserved shrimp shells to fish stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain stock of shrimp shells into large bowl. Add saffron to warm stock and set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in an 8-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, allowing it to brown for about 20 seconds, then add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add bay leaf and oregano. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until paste darkens a bit, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes white wine, pernod and the saffron flavored fish stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until liquid has reduced by half. Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the pesto and parsley. Add mussels and simmer until mussels open, about 3 minutes (discard any unopened clams). Add shrimp and scallops and cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, season halibut salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Cook the halibut until seared and the fish is cooked through – about 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove bay leaf from pot. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowl and top with chopped basil. Serve with crusty bread.

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Beans and Spinach

The leftover Christmas ham bone HAD to be used… and not in the traditional black-eyed pea pot that I’ve never wanted to eat on New Years Day. So why not start a new tradition with a pot of lentils and cornbread instead?

Lentils are a high fiber super legume. They have excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins and protein. Did I mention all of the above is also fat free? Nothing guilty about eating this soup. I prefer the French green ones – they hold their shape and aren’t overly mushy.

Do not skip the balsamic vinegar… it’s the secret ingredient.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 1 small can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 ham bone or ham hock
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 package frozen spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 turkey kielbasa
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese, grated


Heat oil in large soup pot. Add garlic, carrots, celery, shallots, onions and cook until soft about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in tomato paste and crushed red pepper. Cook 2 minutes to brown the paste. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, ham bone, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Add chicken broth then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add balsamic vinegar, cannellini beans, spinach, lemon juice and sausage. Stir contents of pot then cover again and simmer, 15-20 minutes longer, or until lentils are soft. Remove and discard bay leaf and ham bone. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with drizzles of oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

New Years Eve a few years back I decided to have a small get together. I had big platters of roasted vegetables and red pepper dip to spread on baguettes. The next day I threw the leftovers into a pot and made soup. It was fantastic and has been added to the “keepers” pile.

Roasting any vegetable brings out the sweetness and richness of a vegetable and is my favorite method for cooking vegetables (try brussel sprouts!). This soup is a pot full of health (yes, even with the bacon and cream). Vegetarian, low fat, low calorie, tons of vitamins (see nutrition info below). Most importantly it is very satisfying and flavorful. I like to top mine with a little sour cream or shredded parmesan (or both).

For you eaters who want the meat‚ add some kielbasa.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1.5 cups): Calories: 134, Fat: 6.8g, Carb: 15g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 5g


  • Bacon, 2 slices cut into lardons
  • Yellow Onion, 1 medium diced
  • Olive Oil
  • Cauliflower, 1 head chopped into large pieces
  • Broccoli, 1 bag or 2 heads cut into florets
  • Baby carrots, small bag
  • Zucchini, 3 sliced lengthwise
  • Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint
  • Roasted garlic, 3 cloves
  • Tomato Paste, 6 tablespoons
  • Chicken Stock, 6 cups
  • Bay leaves, 3 whole
  • Thyme, 4 sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Half and Half, 1/4 – 1/2 cup
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

*Use any combination of vegetables you have on hand. I’ve used asparagus and bell peppers in the past.


Preheat oven to 350.

On large sheet pans toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 minutes. The tender vegetables may take a shorter amount of time so keep your eye on them. Remove from oven and set aside.

Preheat large soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and bacon and cook until bacon is brown and crispy. Remove bacon to drain on paper towel and set aside.
Add onion to pot and saute until translucent.

While onion is sauteing, puree 1/2 of the roasted vegetables in a food processor until very fine. Add to onion mixture. Pulse the remaining vegetables in the food processor into larger chunks. Add to the pot with the roasted garlic. Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper to the vegetable mix and cook until tomato paste is brown. Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme and stir to combine.

Cook for 20 minutes** on low heat. Add the half and half and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with parmesan toast on top of soup.

** This can be cooked up to an hour‚ but more stock may need to be added.

Turkey Soup with Chive & Herb Dumplings

This Thanksgiving was a very special one. I was finally able to do what I’ve been thinking about for years – spending Thanksgiving with my best friend and fellow foodie Jen in upstate New York. Every year we spend countless hours on the phone helping plan the others Thanksgiving meals. This was the year we were able to plan OUR feast. It was fabulous and we were both thankful to spend it together.

Did I mention it’s COLD up here. My girl Jen was super smart when she threw the turkey carcass in a stock pot on Thanksgiving night and made some seriously rich stock.

This soup is dead simple to make and the chive and herb dumplings thicken it slightly and make this soup very special.

Eat up turkey.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups leftover turkey meat
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 6-8 cups homemade Turkey stock (or chicken)


  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs (sage, parsley & green onions)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter


To make the turkey stock: In a large stock pot throw in your turkey carcass and vegetables from roasting pan. Add a bay leaf and cover with water. Simmer for at least 1 hour. Let cool and skim off top layer. Strain solids and turkey from the pot and reserve clear broth.

In a soup pot, saute onions until translucent. Add carrots & garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add turkey meat and pour the turkey stock over the meat and vegetables.

Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

For the dumplings, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Drop small spoonfuls into the soup and cook for 15 minutes uncovered. Cover the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Golden Chicken, Corn, and Noodle Soup with Saffron

I made this for a friend and I must agree with his statement. It’s really that good.

The fresh sweet corn takes this soup to another level entirely… but you must follow the process and “milk” your corn. Take the back of a knife and scrape out all of the juice and bits from the cob. The corn milk is sweet and adds a ton of flavor.

The flavors are fairly simple so a great quality chicken stock is the best. I had the time so I made homemade chicken stock but if you don’t have time then I suggest Kitchen Basics chicken stock (the VERY best store-bought stock).


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely diced
  • 3 medium carrots, cut in half and into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (I use baked chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 pound Ditalini or any small pasta, cooked al dente
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed and cobs “milked”
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Tip: The pasta is cooked separately to keep the starch from the pasta from clouding the soup broth, and the pasta would also suck up too much of the soup broth as it cooked. Boiling the pasta separately solves both of these problems.

To prepare the corn: Cut the kernels from the cob. Take the back of your knife and run the knife down the cob, scraping all the juice and bits out of the corn.

Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, carrot, garlic, saffron, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the broth and corn and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until corn is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

While the soup simmers, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain.

Add the drained pasta, chicken and parsley to the soup and cook for about 5 minutes until chicken is warmed through. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.

Shrimp Bisque with Brandy and Sherry

David Ansel, aka “The Soup Peddler”, is a well known Austinite on a bike. A bike that delivers soup. Brilliant really… why didn’t I think of this concept? His recipe in Food & Wine magazine appealed to me as it has BOTH brandy and sherry.

The more liquor the better, right?

My modifications included adding pancetta (doesn’t it make EVERYTHING better??) and replacing the final heavy cream with crème fraiche. I did use fat free half and half… GASP… but it was still fabulous and I didn’t miss a calorie of flavor.


  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ pound pancetta, ¼ inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus 8 leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 5 cups seafood stock (Kitchen Basics is my favorite)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 4 ounces crème fraiche (or 1 cup heavy cream)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a small saucepan, cover the shrimp shells with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain the shrimp stock into a bowl.

In a large skillet cook pancetta until crispy. Drain pancetta to paper towels – leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. Add the shrimp, garlic, onion and cayenne and cook over high heat until the shrimp begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped basil and the sherry and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a food processor, add a little of the shrimp stock and puree until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and cook, whisking, until the roux is very thick, about 5 minutes.

In a soup pot, combine the fish stock and remaining shrimp stock with the tomato paste and the shrimp puree and bring to a simmer over high heat. Slowly whisk in the roux and the crème fraiche. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the bisque into bowls, garnish with the sliced basil and pancetta.