Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shrimp Stock

Whenever I am cooking with shrimp I always save the shells and tails and toss them in the freezer.  When I have accumulated enough shells from about 2 – 3 pounds of shrimp, it’s time for me to make shrimp stock.

Shrimp stock is really simple to make and will boost the flavor of any seafood based soup or dish that you are making.  I sometimes add chicken broth to my shrimp stock for a more complex flavor.  I think the combination creates a well balanced taste.  Unlike meat or chicken stocks that can take hours to make, shrimp stock is ready in about an hour and is a great base for Asian cooking.  I substitute it in Korean soups for the anchovy broth and in Japanese dishes for the dashi.  I add ginger to my stock when I plan on using it for Chinese soup broth, which is what I did with this batch.  Turning it in to a meal by adding a few veggies, won tons, noodles and pork.

Although its great for Asian cooking don’t limit yourself there because the choices are endless.  My standard aromatics are onions and carrot, after that the door is wide open.  You can add fresh parsley, celery, leeks, shallots, garlic, green onions, lemon, cilantro, bay leaf, thyme, white wine, brandy, dry sherry… Pick as many or as few as you like to make it your own.  

At this point you might be asking yourself... Now that I have about 2 quarts of beautiful shrimp stock what am I going to make with it?  I guess it all depends on your mood.    Here is a short list of possibilities…

Ina Gartens’s -  Shrimp Bisque

Elise Bauer's – Shrimp Risotto

Alton Brown’s – Shrimp Gumbo

Alex Patout’s – Eggplant Casserole with  Shrimp and Crab Meat

Rachel Ray's - Cioppino

Maangchi’s - Soondubu Jjigae (hot and spicy soft tofu stew)

Jo Ann Sugimoto's - Hawaiian Shrimp Curry

Michelle Chen's - Miso Soup

Me @ Cook with Susan’s – Won Ton Soup

DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!  Gently sautéing the shrimp shells before adding the water helps to build a fuller shrimp flavor and gives your stock a richer color.
4              cups         shrimp shells and tails (from about 2-3# of shrimp)
1              large         onion, quartered
1              large         carrot
1-2           tsp.           kosher salt
2              quarts       water
* see aromatic options below recipe

Heat a pot over med heat.  Add about 1 Tbsp. oil and gently saute shrimp shells, onion and carrot until the shells turn bright pink and you can smell the fresh shrimpy fragrance ; this will take about 5 minutes.  Add the salt and pour the water over the shells; stir to mix and bring to a quick boil; turn down heat to low and simmer covered for 1 hour.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  For a crystal clear finish, strain one more time through cheese cloth.

*Aromatics - … Pick as many or as few as you like to make it your own.  It all depends on what you are going to use the stock for.

*add these after you add the water             *saute these with the shrimp shells
fresh parsley (a handful)                             celery (1 stalk including leafy part)
cilantro (a handful)                                         shallots (1 halved) 
green onions (3 sprigs)                                  leek (1 including tops) 
lemon (2-3 slices)                                              garlic (2 cloves, bruised) 
bay leaf (1 whole)                                              ginger (1 thumb, bruised)
thyme (1-2 branches)
black (1/4 tsp.) or white pepper (1/8 tsp.) or whole peppercorns (1 tsp.)

*if using liquor or wine add it when sauteing the shells, before adding the water.
white wine (1/2 cup)
brandy (1-2 Tbsp.)
dry sherry (1-2 tsp.)

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