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Can heavy cream be replaced with reduced fat in a bisque without losing texture or flavor?

I'm going to be making Dublin Bay Prawn Bisque by Cathal Armstrong this weekend for friends. It calls for 4 cups heavy cream & 2 cups half-and-half.

Can I use reduced fat? I don't want to lose texture and too much flavor. Does it cook the same?

Here is a link to the recipe



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  1. I think reduced fat might compromise the texture of the bisque (eg. it may not be as velvety rich) - I would try adding whole milk - it will take a margin of fat out of the recipe without sacrificing too much texture or flavor. Maybe 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream, 2 1/2 cups whole milk and 1 cup of half-and-half would work well?

    4 Replies
      1. re: Sra. Swanky

        2 1/2 cream + 2 1/2 milk + 1 cup half/half ....doesn't this just equal 6 cups half and half ?

        not being snarky, just trying to check if that's right. i don't use half-and-half that much so i'm not sure where it falls in the butterfat scale.

        1. re: seamunky

          haha!! You're right! I totally didn't realize that! It's good way for rHairing to still use the heavy cream though. Too funny!

          1. re: seamunky

            Actually, not really. It depends on what kind of cream you have. It would have to be very light cream for a true half & half mixture to equal commercial half & half. Heavy Cream is 36-40% milkfat and half & half is 10.5% in the markets, so actually a three to one mix of 2% milk and heavy cream is about right (2+2+2+36/4=10.5).

        2. I use fat free half & half & a bit of cornstarch for the mouthfeel in mine....not traditional but very good and way less calories.

          30 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I second this! The first time I saw "Fat Free Half & Half" I burst out laughing because it is such an oxymoron. So after scoffing for a few months, I tried it. A very pleasant surprise! I buy Land O Lakes brand, and the flavor is "on the nose" for full "real" Half & Half. I think this will work for you very well, and cherylptw's suggestion of a little corn starch mixed in to give that thicker mouth feel should be a plus as well. Good luck!

            1. re: Caroline1

              NO!!! Fat-free "half and half":

              Ingredients: Ingredients: Skim Milk, Corn Syrup, Cream*, Contains less than 0.5% of the following: Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides*, Vitamin A Palmitate, Color Added (Ingredient not in regular half & half)

              NOT FOOD.


              Definition of half and half: The United States dairy product known as half and half is a mixture of one part milk to one part cream.[1]

              1. re: sandylc

                But obvioualy you've either tried it or are very clever at tracking down contents on line. If you've tasted it, you know it's not a bad imitation. Pretty darn good, in fact. The OP's objective seems to be to reduce the fat content in the recipe. I still think fat free Half & Half is a viable way to do just that. '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  this is one thing I just can't agree with you on, Caroline.

                  Fat-free half and half = blerg.

                  I'd use *all* half and half before I'd ever head to those depths...and all the brands of fat-free dairy I've tried tend to break dramatically when heated.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    i cannot go with "fat free" half and half -- and i have tried it. it has the carageenan thickener, which just squirrels it for me! it also has a strange sweet flavor…..i guess from the corn syrup.

                    if i were making the bisque and also wanting to reduce the fat, i'd just use all half and half.

                    nothing but full fat cream will ever get you the mouthfeel of full fat cream.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      First time out, I would just go ahead and follow the recipe and not worry about the fat content. After all, no one is going to be having a big bowl of it three times a day for two weeks. Eat the soup and skip dessert if you have to. Or vice versa. It's a personal call. (But I'd be pretty hurt if a guest refused to even taste my soup!) But the OP was lookin for ways to reduce the fat content of the soup, and this is honestly what I would try. But NOT for a dinner party. I would have a trial run first.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        i agree…..i'd try it as written first. as you say, no one will be gulping big bowlfuls if the stuff.

                    2. re: sunshine842

                      I frequently use fat free sour cream when making beef Stroganoff, and it never breaks UNLESS I overheat it and let it reach a boil. But full fat sour cream does exactly the same thing. I will also add that I've never cooked with fat free Half & Half, but was assuming it would work well. I do not think yogurt. full fat or not, will come close to the flavor profile called for in the recipe. I would try about a half recipe using the ff H&H before making the full recipe for company. But that's just me. I firmly believe that nothing tastes identical to any given two people. We all taste just a little different than the rest of us. The ff H&H could taste "off" to one person and not to another. I'm one of those people who cannot handle the flavor of safflower oil, yet others swear it is flavorless. Life is a mystery! '-)

                    3. re: Caroline1

                      For me it's a matter of using real foods, not fake processed foods. to reduce the fat in something that has a bunch of cream, the solution is to sub half and half or whole milk or some combo of the two for some or all of the cream, not to start adding processed stuff.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Well, for me, I have an "allergy" problem with fat: It makes me swell up AND stay that way! But seriously, I do have to limit my fat intake. I don't have a gall bladder. And a high fat content diet really does pack the pounds on me. So.... If/When I want to simulate the fatty foods I used to know and love, I can only recreate them on a restricted fat level by using things like fat free sour cream and other "processed stuff." I know... Some food things can kill you. Oh, well... I'm 78 years old and no longer afraid of dying... After all, no matter how you slice it, birth is the beginning of a terminal process. '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Ouch...that's too bad about your GB.....I hope you feel well despite missing a part or two.

                          We all do what we must do....you have obviously found what you have to do.

                          I try to avoid processed food as much as possible for health, taste, value, and quality reasons - just how my family does things!

                          1. re: sandylc

                            Worse things can happen than losing your gall bladder. My fat restrictions have a lot more to do with weight than with not having a gall bladder. A week after the laporoscopic surgery, my surgeon insisted that I join him and his office staff for lunch from... Chico's Taco's in El Paso, TX, the greasiest food in town! No problemo! '-)

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        I've tasted it and I think it's awful.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Some brands absolutely are! And sometimes "good tasting brands" change their formula and join the "bad tasting brands." Such is life. '-)

                        2. re: Caroline1

                          If you want your soup made with milk and thickeners, I don't understand why you wouldn't just use milk and thicken it with a little roux. It won't be the same as with cream, but it'll be actual food and it'll probably still taste good.

                          Most thickeners used in processed food aren't terribly heat stable anyway, so by the time you serve your soup, you may find it's just as watery as if you'd used nothing but milk. Or worse yet, it could separate.

                          I should add, there's nothing in that ingredient list that's scary -- carageenan is not dangerous to consume -- but eh. I prefer to eat a food-based diet as much as I can.

                          1. re: Exy00

                            carageenan is derived from seaweed - so absolutely food (The Irish thicken custards with the stuff).

                            I just don't like the mouthfeel.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Well, by that definition anything at the supermarket is okay, because it's all derived from food. (Except for the salt, which is a rock.)

                              I'm not saying it's dangerous -- like I said, there's nothing really scary in those ingredients -- but a processed fakey food product (fakey because it's trying to mimic half-and-half) is not likely to lead to a great bowl of soup. Just cutting back on the cream in favor of milk will make something that's less rich but still good.

                            2. re: Exy00

                              Jeeeez! WHERE did I say I want my soup made with milk and thickeners? The OP asked for thoughts on a way she came up with to reduce fat content and asked if there were any more. I made a suggestion. It does happen to be one of things I would consider at the top of my "to try" list. I don't want to ague with you that my way is the only way. I am a fairly competent cook. But I insist the NO ONE, least of all you, do things my way. Okay?

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Sorry, I wasn't trying to insult you but that's what fat-free half-and-half is. And so was my thought about using milk and roux. It's milk and thickeners either way.

                                1. re: Exy00

                                  Well, I'm obviously cranky tonight. And this is interesting because after I entered my post, it was deleted. Now it's back. Chowhound exists in a curious dimension.

                                  There are probably at least twenty or thirty ways to accomplish what the OP is interested in doing. Some, such as rice as the traditional thickener, are very old. Some, such as fat free Half and Half, are very new. "New" is rarely in and of itself a bad thing, yet there are always those who greet it with shock and dismay. The culinary lexicon is changing rapidly, and for those of us who have been around long enough to have experienced a time when there was a precise lexicon of haute cuisine, we miss those times! "Molecular gastronomy," or whatever you want to call it, has turned tradition on its head and uses all sorts of "chemicals" to achieve making familiar foods nearly unrecognizable and ridiculously expensive in very elite restaurants. Are the chemicals dangerous? Maybe if you overdose on them. But at those prices, who can afford to do that? My understanding is that this soup is to be a one night thing. Whether she uses the recipe link she offers or modifies it by using one or more of the suggestions here, her guests will probably be touched she cares about them enough to cook for them. How and what she cooks is her decision.

                                  I am still baffled why some threads go on and on and on amicably, other threads lead a very short amicable life, then every once in a while a thread comes along that is pure melt down! Curious....

                        3. re: Caroline1

                          No one has mentioned it, so I will - xanthan gum provides a mouthfeel that is closer to that of fat and usually a slightly cleaner flavor release than cornstarch. It would be my go-to choice for emulating the texture and feel of full-fat sauce when cutting the fat partially but not entirely. Also less problematic from a carb standpoint, if that's a concern to anyone.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            these gums cause gastric problems in some people, like moi. also, it doesn't sound so nice to add to a shrimp bisque.

                            """"Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, derived from the bacterial coat of Xanthomonas campestris, used as a food additive and rheology modifier,[2] commonly used as a food thickening agent (in salad dressings, for example) and a stabilizer (in cosmetic products, for example, to prevent ingredients from separating). It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. After a fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Later, it is added to a liquid medium to form the gum.""" wiki.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Guar gum is known to cause more in the way of gastric problems than xanthan gum. Xanthan gum has been in use by industry for quite a while and has a very good track record for safety as a foodstuff, significantly better than many common ingredients that no one bats an eye at when suggested. That said, I'll take your word for it that it causes you problems. But... I don't refrain from suggesting peanuts in a recipe just because a small minority of people have [severe] problems with em, unless those problems have already been stipulated. Same thing goes here.

                              As to its textural effect in a bisque, part of the reason I suggest it is because it is a common ingredient in storebought bisques, where it's used pretty much for the very reasons I outlined above - it leaves a very silky, fatty mouthfeel without dampening flavor. Of course, if I were just trying to make a bisque taste as good as possible, it wouldn't use it - I would use cream. But when cutting the fat and maintaining the texture and flavor, it's a better option than corn starch or carrageenan, IME. Different effect from a flour based roux, which kind of adds its own element (as well as some fat and carbs) which may or may not be desirable. I haven't tried rice starch for this kind of thing, so I can't compare that. I'd suggest you try it before you knock it, but I guess that doesn't really apply to you specifically.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                After several weeks of experimenting with gluten-free baking for an upcoming column, I bow down at the xanthan gum altar.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  I think there's been a remarkable amount of "culinary myopia" in this thread, and while you and alkapal are being very civil (as always) you two are a great example of how and why one size rarely fits all. I don't think there is any food that is safe and/or good to all people. Things have gotten pretty sticky when some have thought their way is the only way, or that "chemicals" are unacceptable. Chemicals are what food is made out of, whether it comes from a plant, an animal, or a test tube. '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    The sticking point seems to be whether a naturally occurring chemical is identical to a manufactured chemical. On the face of it, the answer is "yes," but there are no long-term studies and people are suspicious. (Personally, I won't touch HFCS.)

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      That commercial by the HFCS folks that it's all sugar and your body doesn't know the difference REALLY grates on me. In fact, I think it should be banned because it simply is not true. I am allergic to high fructose corn syrup, but not nearly as severely as I used to be. I attained most of my allergies through blood transfusion. Four units of what I have come to call, "sangre de wino." In that initial hyper-allergic phase I was allergic to all foods except white rice. Until your allergist tells you you MUST avoid corn in all forms, you have no idea how pervasive it is! Allergies can sure make your everyday diet expensive!

                                      What "Agribusiness" has done to our food supply is frightening when you get down to an overall survey of the problems. Agribusiness has given us rampant heart disease from eating grain fed beef, mad cow disease, frequent e-coli outbreaks, high fructose corn syrups, and tasteless tomatoes, to name but a few of their science-gone-wrong masterpieces.

                                      And you're absolutely right. There is no way of knowing what some of these "magic tricks" will do to us in the long run. Scary! But I am grateful for Daisy fat free sour cream so I can still have my occasional Stroganoff...! '-)

                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                Cowboy: "No one has mentioned it, so I will - xanthan gum "

                                LOL! I gotta admire your spirit, Cowboy. You're willing to toss in just any old hair trigger, aren't you? One time I ran into an elderly lady acquaintance in a supermarket where she was working her way through the ice cream freezer looking for ANY ice cream made without xanthan gum and/or carrageenan. I told her to buy some heavy cream and an ice cream freezer and make her own. Sometimes I suspect that the average allergy free shopper NEVER reads the content labels on foods they're familiar with and/or like. It's a funny world we live in. '-)

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  Ehhh, this site is more interesting when people are willing to float the occasional unpopular suggestion out there. ;)

                          2. no, it doesn't cook the same or taste the same. Whole milk will still taste wonderful but the silkiness of cream cannot be replicated.
                            If you don't want the cream, why not make some other kind of shrimp soup??????

                            1. You could make a very thin bechamel with a small amount of blond roux and a lot of 2% milk. It won't be the same but the white sauce will add a bit of the thicker mouthfeel. I used to do this for a faux Alfredo sauce until I decided the carbs were worse than the fat.

                              1. Use some plain yogurt (non-fat, of course)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Yogurt will break and curdle unless you change the recipe and just add it at the end, off the heat. But the inherent sourness will throw the whole flavor profile out of whack. You certainly wouldn't use six cups of it to replace all the dairy.

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    Use a mix of reduced fat and yogurt, and add it at the end like you say. A little sugar will cut the sourness.

                                2. I use skim milk in place of cream or half n half sometimes in soup and it's fine, but only in soups where the dairy is not the primary ingredient. Since this recipe doesn't have any other liquid like stock, I don't think I'd try it w/ skim. I noticed the nutrition info was blank on the link. it probably exploded from trying to calc that much fat! ;-)

                                  1. Thanks Everyone! I think I am going to go full on with the recipe because it's the first time I have made it and I'm making it for friends. I LOVE the fat free plus cornstarch idea. I have been using Land O Lakes ff for other things. I'm going to need to experiment!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rHairing

                                      I would use some rice flour rather than cornstarch. Cornstarch is great for some things, but in a faux bisque, the texture would be all wrong.

                                      As for the cream, there's no substitute for the rich flavor that cream provides. I'm not crazy about the fat free half & halfs I've tried, but I've used canned Fat Free Evaporated Milk (and adding a _small_ splash of real cream to get the taste) with very good results in some dishes. A trace of real cream is not going to do any harm, and will really help to get the proper rich taste without being so heavy.

                                    2. I actually don't like the fat-free + cornstarch idea myself. I made creme anglaise with milk + cornstarch and I hated it. The rest of the ingredients became way too prominent - too sugary, too eggy, vanilla was a little too assertive.

                                      I looked at the recipe. Wow, the only liquid called for was HnH and HC! and to further thicken it with rice??? I think it's waaaaaay to heavy for my taste. It reminds me of an Indian dessert. I will not hesitate replacing half of the HC with shrimp or seafood stock. In fact, I probably would go with 3 cups of stock + 1 cup HC + 2 cups of HnH. But maybe the whole point of this Irish shrimp bisque is the richness.....

                                      Here's a link to Ina's shrimp bisque. 4 cups of stock and 2 cups of HnH

                                      Let us know how it goes!

                                      1. I have sometimes substituted evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed). Yes, it is more of a beige color, but it has the mouth feel of cream.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: wyogal

                                          I do this as well wyogal and I can't ever recall feeling cheated. Granted, full fat cream does have a velvety mouthfeel but sometimes I find the richness to be overpowering as well.

                                          1. re: wyogal

                                            My first thought on reading this was going for evaporated milk for a substitution, but I wanted to see if anyone else had recommended it.

                                          2. at first, i thought armstrong's recipe was strange. i didn't think it would even be very shrimpy-y. only one pound of shrimp and all that cream? and then cook it for 45 minutes? that was very strange to read…so i looked up "bisque" again. (always good to reexamine ideas), and look what i found:

                                            """"Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup. Julia Child even remarked, "Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don't want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain."[4] Bisque are thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed upon the final stages."""""" (wiki)

                                            so armstrong's recipe purees the shrimp heads along with the meat…then it is sieved, looks traditional, indeed. i just think i'd proceed a different way… and i would like it a bit lighter….

                                            i like cutipie721's idea of using shrimp stock and the half and half -- with some cream swirled in at the end.

                                            look at this ina garten recipe; this looks right up my alley! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in... lots of aromatics, a decent amount of creaminess, stock to give it shrimpiness, a little roux, and not overcooking the shrimp..

                                            <<now i am wondering how armstrong's recipe's cooking time would affect the flavor extraction….maybe the long cooking time of the shrimp wouldn't "matter" like it typically would with shrimp to be eaten whole. The long cook time wouldn't matter because because the shrimp are pureed and "everything" that could be extracted flavor-wise has in fact been extracted from the shrimp, which is all contained in the bisque.…..a technique now to check out in my kitchen soon>> (I know veggo will appreciate my dilemma re the shrimp. LOL).

                                            ps, this is why i love chowhound, it always makes me learn more!

                                            1. That seems like SOOOOOOO much cream for a bisque, especially since most of the texture in a bisque comes from the ground up rice.

                                              32 Replies
                                              1. re: twyst

                                                I think so too, but I would find a recipe using less, not replace it with junk.

                                                1. re: twyst

                                                  in what world does bisque contain ground-up rice? the op's recipe is the first i've ever seen using it. it shouldn't have a chowder-like consistency. traditionally, bisque was basically a dish made rich with cream and butter, but using up tidbits of heads, tails and shells which otherwise would have gone to the bin.

                                                  that this recipe cooks prawns to death only to toss them would send me elsewhere. it's terribly wasteful.

                                                  for only 1 lb. of shrimp. that is a TON of cream. i'd sub out some shrimp stock, which will boost the shrimpy flavor.

                                                  i wouldn't use the ff hc, though for reasons stated above. if fat was a concern, i'd simply serve smaller portions.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    I agree w/ your assessment of that recipe. I think people get carried away with the whole "fat is flavor" idea. IMO, fat CARRIES flavor, but a big pot of hot cream is not something I'm interested in eating.

                                                    1. re: danna

                                                      Hey, I would happily eat a dish of hot cream! When I was younger and had yet to develop a fear of excess of cholesterol, I would use cream on cereal and drink half and half. Sigh...Sometimes I miss being young and stupid.

                                                    2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      i learned from wiki that it is traditional. that surprised me.

                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                        "in what world does bisque contain ground-up rice?"

                                                        The rice is what makes a bisque a bisque by definition along with the process of extracting all the flavor from the shells. I know out in the real world a lot of places sell soups as bisques and dont use rice, but its mislabeling. To be a true bisque by classic culinary standards you must puree rice in the soup and then strain. If you are using another thickener you are really just making a cream soup.

                                                        1. re: twyst


                                                          this is how i learned to make bisque. new to me, but apparently in some parts of the world rice may be traditional, but not here in new england. we just use ground-up shells and heads.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            thank you for that link. i have never seen that video, but played the LP at a very memorable georgetown house party circa 1980.

                                                          2. re: twyst

                                                            While rice may have been used at one time or another to thicken a bisque, it is not what defines a bisque. Professional Cooking (Gisslen) defines it as simply a shellfish cream soup.

                                                          3. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            Umm in every world. I was always taught rice in the bisque and as it cooked down the starch would thicken it and give a smoother texture than a roux. Clasic french cooking 101. Food did exist before the food network.

                                                            1. re: jamesvb

                                                              Yeah this is what I was taught way back in culinary school as well.

                                                              1. re: twyst

                                                                I used the Gisslen book in culinary school, no rice.

                                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                                  While a roux might be taught now it is not traditional.. I can see why a roux would be used as it is far easier and less chance. Rice can sit on the bottom and burn.. But the two French chefs that taught me sauces and soups would have rapped my knuckles for using a roux.. Remember this is from back in the days of the French kitchen where you had a whole army to prep.. No such luxuries now. Its not a judgement just the fact that it was the traditional way.. things change sometimes for good sometimes for the better.. My bigger peeve is when traditional dishes get completely bastardized.. such as olives and or tomatoes in picatta ..etc.

                                                                  1. re: jamesvb

                                                                    "Traditional" and "defining" are two different things. That's all I was saying.

                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                      In most cases I agree.. things evolve.. But tradition should hold on somethings.. Pizza Margherita cant have chicken on it.. But if you dont use rice and use a roux.. no biggie.. Hey im old (42) and like to do things the way i was taught and well sometimes I take the long cut instead of a short cut.. I have a Vitamix blender but wont use it to puree a soup, just cause I like a food mill and a chinois.. It works for me, but the wife hates the clean up. LOL. I wasnt meaning to start rancour just pointing out that rice is traditional.

                                                                      1. re: jamesvb

                                                                        Would you call any soup thickened with rice a "bisque?" That is what I am getting at.
                                                                        and I am older than you.

                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                          No and here is why.....
                                                                          Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly-seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth (coulis) of crustaceans.[1] It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from roasted and puréed vegetables are sometimes called bisques (though this is, by definition, incorrect, as this would make them cream soups).

                                                                          It is thought the name is derived from Biscay, as in Bay of Biscay,[2] but the crustaceans are certainly bis cuites "twice cooked" (by analogy to a biscuit) for they are first sautéed lightly in their shells, then simmered in wine and aromatic ingredients, before being strained, followed by the addition of cream.[3]

                                                                          This is my point.. there is really no such thing as mushroom bisque or carrot bisque those are names to make them sound fancier and $$ than cream of.. And to add a Bisque usually only has seafood in it as a garnish not in it.. It drove me nuts when i would make Shrimp or Lobster Bisque and the customers would say there is no seafood in there.. Glarg

                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                            also as just a quick google search i found most of the seafood bisque recipes call for rice.. Im not trying to be an A$$ just saying that a bisque is seafood and traditionally has rice.. Make it how you want call it a bisque no matter.. Im just old school in certain things..

                                                                            1. re: jamesvb

                                                                              and I am not disputing that. It was mentioned earlier that it was what defined a bisque. That a "bisque" without rice was not a "bisque." My point is that "traditional" "classical" are not the same as "definitive." That is all. Yes, my Professional Cooking does state that there are alternate ways of thickening a "bisque," and one calls for rice. But that does not mean that a shrimp bisque made with a fish veloute is NOT a bisque, as was stated earlier. It's the way folks are using the words traditional, classical, and definitive.

                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                LOL tomato tomatoe.... I would call a roux based one cream of... and rice a true Bisque. To quote Walter from the Big Lebowski... " there are rules.." Really its just whatever you want.. In the end just eat what you like and dont do chain restaurants. you can email me if you want.. would love to talk more about food with you.

                                                                      2. re: jamesvb

                                                                        There is an easier way that comes "close to, but a little different" than tradition. On those rare occasions when I bother making a true bisque, instead of rice, I make a roux or a buerre manier using rice flour instead of wheat flour. I suspect I could just simply make a rice flour slurry and it would work too. I hit upon this because I made a bisque years and years ago using "standard" long grain white rice. It may have been my blender, it may have been the rice, but no matter how long I processed it, the rice left the bisque "gritty." That doesnt happen with short grain rice to the same extent, but I've never had a problem with rice flour. You can pick it up at any Asian market if your regular market doesn't carry it.

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          Makes sense, I've thought about rice flour doing the trick.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            Caroline- dont blend the rice.. all you need to do is take the contents of the pot and put them in a fine strainer and mash them and mash them and all the goodness from the seafood and the rice will come out.. They didnt have blenders back in the day...

                                                                            1. re: jamesvb

                                                                              Yeah. I remember those days. Hey, I was a guest at Careme's FIRST Supper! And he was so ticked he didn't have an Asian market. '-)

                                                                              Fact is rice flour is soooooooooooooooo much easier!

                                                                    2. re: jamesvb

                                                                      "Food did exist before the food network"


                                                                      1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                        However....if the food network didn't exist -- a pretty good percentage of this board wouldn't be here.

                                                                        Call it a gateway if you like-- but it has definitely done the job of getting people interested in food and cooking.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          That's really true. I had to get my food fix from PBS pre-Food Network. I think the quality was better on PBS, but accessibility is certainly greater on Food.

                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                            Anyone remember the old school show on PBS -- Best Chefs in the.. LOVED that show.. also Justin Wilson.. gaurrrauunnntee your happy to see me.

                                                                            1. re: jamesvb

                                                                              I *still* have recipes scrawled on the backs of recipes while I watched Best Chefs.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                I have some of their books - love them!

                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                            I dont disagree as I watch food network, but It has gone WAY WAY downhill in the last few years.. Getting rid of real chefs and replacing them with crap.. Ray Ray and Paula and UGGGH dont get me started on Sandra Lee or the Nealeys.. Cupcake wars.. I think the last man standing is Bobby Flay.. Now its all fakers and crap.. And yes i do watch DDD even though i hate Guy Fieri.. But its cool to see local stuff featured. Even Alton Brown is just doing ICA.

                                                                  2. i found this old "bisque" thread, where maria lorraine weighed in (and thus has no dog in this fight here). ;-). http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585760

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      Amen -- at least someone gets it.

                                                                    2. The recipe looks glorious, but perhaps a bit like the food equivalent of an orgy...wildly excessive, but I can't deny being a bit curious to try it.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                        Fun in theory, but astonishingly socially awkward in practice?

                                                                        1. re: Exy00

                                                                          I'd think the socially awkward part would come later, when you have to deal with your fellow participants in regular settings again...

                                                                          I would think more like the morning after a wildly drunk night...You know, "I did WHAT last night?!?!?!?!?"

                                                                      2. "Can heavy cream be replaced with reduced fat in a bisque without losing texture or flavor?"


                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. Has evaporated milk been mentioned yet? I know nothing but cream will give you that mouthfeel, but I wonder if evap. milk would thicken and make the bisque richer.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                            evaporated milk will provide (some) thickness, but the flavor is off.

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Thanks. It's been so long since I've used it. It's one of those products that I buy every several years because somehow, I think I *might* need it.
                                                                              I've got to check my can collection, come to think of it. I recently tossed a can that was expired around 2005.

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                oh gosh, i def. need a pantry dump-out!

                                                                              2. re: alkapal

                                                                                Yeah, plus it has 25 gms of sugar, vs. about 8 per cup of heavy cream. Some tradeoffs may not be healthier, just different.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  Carnation has 6 g of sugar per can. Is that what you're referring to? Oops....just read the nutrition label again. You're right. It's a lot of sugar, but then again, it's concentrated so I'd expect that.

                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                    Just looked at my whole milk carton - 12 g per 8 oz.

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      One tip is to use heavy cream and add water to bring it to the fat level you want. Much less sugar that way.