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Dec 27, 2006 11:51 PM

Alternatives to shrimp stock?

I want to make a shrimp & truffle bisque for NYE dinner (along w/ Prime Rib). The recipe calls for shrimp stock and rock shrimp. I am dreading having to shell a bunch of shrimp to get the shells to make stock. Is there an alternative to shrimp stock, either something you can buy or an easy way to get some shells?

Since rock shrimp are small, I think they come pre-shelled, so I'd have to buy another bag of shrimp and shell those for the stock, leaving me w/ a bunch of shrimp that I could either use in the soup or save.

any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Kitchen Basics makes a very decent seafood stock, in the light blue carton. If you can't find that there is bottled clam juice and Better Than Bullion makes a lobster base. More than Gourmet makes a Glace de Fruits de mer Gold. Very concentrated and rich. Not cheap either.

    1. Oh, I would be SOOO tempted to just go for bottled clam juice! But That Would Be Wrong...

      You're already committed to some fairly heavy cooking, so I don't see what's such a big deal about getting a few more shrimp and peeling them, the bonus being some shrimp to play with later. Or ignore the specified shrimp and just get some other ones that need shelling anyway, and make your stock from those shells. Or getting just a few jumbos, shelling them, and cooking the shells with (YES!!) clam juice for your stock.

      Whatever you do, do NOT be tempted by the boxes of Knorr Shrimp Bouillon. Gag a maggot...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen

        I also thought of clam juice, but it isn't exactly the same taste as shrimp...more like oyster flavor to me. Plus, bottled clam juice is so salty & can be unpleasantly "clammy". I've never tasted a commercial seafood base that I liked. I'd bite the bullet and buy shell-on shrimp & make the stock. Since it's a bisque, a good stock is so important. You can make it a day or two in advance, if that's any consolation.

      2. Most base companies make a shrimp base, right now I have Majors brand and also Custom Culinary in the fridge, both are excellent. If you have a restaurant supply house or distributor near you, call them and buy a pound, about $15, comes in handy for lots of things. Lasts forever.

        1. Our Whole Foods will save off a bag of shrimp shells for me if I call a day or two ahead. Maybe ask at your local seafood market?