Shrimp & Crab Bisque Sous Vide

shrimp and crab bisque photo

Nowadays bisque is many things to many people. Currently most associated with shellfish it originally is said to have been a savory puréed soup of game birds. Whether it's fowl, vegetable or some deep sea creature I believe it's safe to say the final product is a rich intense creamy purée, that's damn tasty!
Other than the star ingredient another variable is how the bisque is thickened, recipes abound utilizing floury rouxs’ and/or copious amounts of rich cream. This recipe is following a more or less classic French style that uses rice as the primary thickener. Rice is a wonderful way to thicken as well as adding a velvety texture without extra fats. Cream is still used to finish the bisque but just enough to enhance and not overpower the shrimp and crab.

shrimp and crab bisque picture

The beauty of sous vide technique here is pure simplicity. Basically just add all he prepped ingredients to the bag, cook, purée and serve, what could be simpler?!?!?


For the shrimp broth:

• shrimp shells, reserved from shrimp peeling

• 2 bay leaves, divided

• 8 large parsley sprigs, fresh

• 4 large thyme sprigs, fresh

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste

• 6 cups fish fumet or light chicken broth

For the Shrimp SV garnish:

• 8-12 shrimp

•1-2 tablespoons unsalted “sweet” butter

•1-2 thyme sprigs, fresh 

shrimp and crab bisque ingredients picture

For the Bisque:

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter “sweet” butter

• 2 pounds’ shrimp, raw, shell on and head on if possible, 8-12 shrimp reserved for garnish, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped, shells reserved for shrimp broth

• 8 ounces’ crabmeat, lump, 4 ounces reserved for garnish, picked over free of any shells or cartilage

• 2 carrots, peeled, and finely chopped

• 2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped

• 1 leek, large, cleaned and finely chopped ¼ cup long-grain white rice, raw

• 2 tablespoons tomato paste

• 4 large parsley sprigs, fresh

• 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, fresh

• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ cup heavy whipping cream

• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives

peeling shrimp picture

shrimp broth photo

Shrimp broth pic


For the shrimp broth:

1. Preheat the VacMaster SV1 to 185°F/85C

2. Using the VacMaster bag filler and appropriate sized VacMaster bag(s) add the reserved shrimp shells, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, tomato paste and the fish fumet or chicken broth.

3. Using a VacMaster chamber machine vacuum seal the bag.

4. Gently place the bag in the water bath of the SV1 for 2 hours or up to 3 hours

5. When finished carefully remove the bag from the water bath and when cool enough to handle strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve or through double thickness of cheesecloth; pressing hard on the shells to extract as much broth as possible.

6. Discard the shells and reserve the shrimp broth.

For the bisque:

1. Using an appropriate sized VacMaster bag(s) and the VacMaster Bag Filler add the butter, chopped shrimp, crab, carrots, celery, leeks, rice, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper and the shrimp broth.

2. Using a VacMaster chamber machine vacuum seal the bag.

3. Gently place the bag(s) in the water bath of the SV1 for 2 hours or up to 3 hours

4. When finished carefully remove the bag from the water bath.

5. When cool enough to handle and working in batches, purée bisque in a high speed blender or food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade until the mixture is ultra-smooth, reserve. 

For the shrimp sous vide garnish:

1. Preheat the VacMaster SV1 to 140°F/60C

2. Using and appropriate sized VacMaster bag add the reserved shrimp, butter and thyme.

3. Using a VacMaster suction or chamber machine vacuum seal the bag.

4. Gently place the bag in the water bath of the SV1 for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the bag from the SV1 and reserve.

For Serving:

1. Stir the cream into the bisque in a suitable sized sauce pan over medium heat.

2. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with the salt, pepper and more cayenne as needed.

3. Ladle the hot bisque into your preferred style of soup bowls and evenly garnish with a bit of the reserved crab and sous vide shrimp, serve immediately.

vacuum sealed shrimp picture

shrimp and crab bisque pic