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Shrimp stock

  • c

We eat a lot of shrimp. All different ways. Watching a cooking show earlier this year they said don't throw away the shells, they have lots of flavor and make great stock.

Well, we've been saving shells, and more shells, and even more shells, in the freezer. My wife is wondering what I'm going to do with them, and I am wondering myself now too.

What do I do with them? How do I make a stock, and how would I use a shrimp stock? In my gumbo? Only seafood type dishes?

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  1. I would start with cold water to cover, add herbs of your choice and simmer for 30 minutes. Not necessary to have a long simmer as for chicken or beef. Freeze and save for any fish or seafood soups or sauces you might make.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarah galvin

      That is pretty much what I do - and I made a fumet yesterday - parsley stems, some sliced onion, white wine ... not sure what else but will check JC's recipe and post back.

    2. Chopped onion, celery, carrot. Basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, shrimp shells. Add enough water to cover Drizzle a little olive oil over. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain, cool, then refrigerate or freeze. This is my mother's recipe and I use it to this day.

      Use it in soups, pastas, risottos, and Cajun gumbo and jambalaya and anywhere else you'd use stock.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I make it that way too - only no basil - use some of my own creole seasoning - also save some fish scraps to go in it now and then - also add a little garlic - it freezes well and is NECESSARY in my gumbo!

        1. re: bayoucook

          That sounds nice too... I forgot the salt & pepper.... after all these years. Oy Vey!

      2. I keep it really simple. Whenever we make shrimp I throw the shells in a pot, cover with water and boil for about an hour, (though 30 minutes is probably enough).

        I let it cool and freeze it. Sometimes I have a pint, sometimes a quart. It never goes to waste. Try it with bisque, fish stew, even steamed clam...better than water.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Felixnot

          That's what I do too. No seasonings. Often, I use the stock in the same dish, like a shrimp curry. If I don't need it immediately, I freeze to use in a chowder or whatever. I don't add seasonings because I don't know what I will use it for later. If I have the heads, better yet. They make a richer broth.

        2. I deal with mostly head on product, so the heads become part of the mix....I keep it simple...just a little S&P...Unless I know exactly where the stock will end up....Simmer time depends on the volume of shrimp I'm dealing with...Usually an hour +or - ..... Uses vary ...in any dish I want the flavor...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Uncle Bob

            The heads hold a lot of flavor. I try to strain the final product through a fine mesh sieve so that I can mash the heads against the sides to extract the full amount of flavor. Otherwise in traditional Asian cooking the heads can be mortar and pestled with hot water to make a seasoning for sauces.

          2. i pink up the shells in olive oil, add onions, carrots, celery and soften, deglaze with a bit of white wine, cook it down. then add water and simmer for stock. shells and debris from 3 lbs of shrimp will tolerate about 8 cups of water--which will reduce some while simmering.

            the stock will make an excellent start toward a shrimp bisque.

            2 Replies
            1. re: silverhawk

              I am also a fan of a quick saute of the shells to "pink them up." Adds a little complexity (though there might be situations in which that flavour would be unwelcome, e.g., some clear Asian soups.

              If you boil it down it makes a killer base for a lighter pasta--I mix it in with a few tablespoons of blue cheese and toss with the usual suspects (shrimp, rapini, snap peas, red bell pepper, etc.).

              1. re: silverhawk

                Got a recipe for shrimp bisque starting with the stock?

              2. Because shrimp stock is made so quickly I don't always use any veg in the stock. Just cover with cold water and simmer for 30-40 min. Drain well squeezing out the shells in a fine mesh strainer. Use same day or freeze.

                1 Reply
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  The only way I've ever made it. Thanks for re-assuring me.

                2. Well, after years of using shrimp stock for my seafood dishes, I recently switched to crab stock and i will never go back; much more seafoody flavor. Alas, it is more expensive. I have to buy gumbo crabs to make it instead of all my free shrimp heads, but worth every penny.

                  1. According to a post "My Shrimp Poaching Broth is 10-years-old" at http://extremecookingblog.com/ Mark Bittman suggested in a 1997 Cook's Illustrated using shrimp broth over and over to poach shrimp. Does anyone do this?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RondoChar

                      geez, my freezer is so full of shrimp shells i don't have room for stock. i do poach shrimp--eg for cold cocktails--in seasoned shrimp stock, though.