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Classic Prawn Bisque

1 November 2022

Yes! What a winner! I knew this soup was going to be great as soon as I started smelling all the delicious ingredients coming from the pan. A real restaurant worthy showstopper of a starter, so great if you’re hosting a dinner party 😉. Serve with crispy croutons and a slice of lemon on the side.

Recipe inspired by @deliciousmag

Classic Prawn Bisque

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
Dinner, lunch Mediterranean, French
By Delicious Magazine Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: Hands-on 30 minutes, simmering 1 hour


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg fresh prawns, peeled, heads and shells set aside
  • 150 g prawn meat roughly chopped
  • 1.5 litres fish stock (fresh or with stock cubes)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 3 flatleaf parsley sprigs, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp cognac (or sherry if you have that lying around)
  • 100 g white rice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, diced
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • 50ml double cream (I used 2 tablespoons in the end)
  • To serve
  • Lemon slices
  • 1 par-baked baguette (see notes)



Melt half of the butter with 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. When foaming, add the prawn heads and shells and sauté over a medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, keep stirring. When the shells are fragrant and have turned a pinky-orange add the fish stock and bring to the simmer. Let bubble away gently for 30 minutes on low heat.


While this is simmering heat 30 g of the butter and 2 tbsp olive oil and add the shallots, carrots celery and garlic. Sauté gently on low heat for 8 - 10 minutes so it softens but doesn't get any colour.


Turn up the heat, add the bayleaves, parsley, tomato purée and cayenne pepper and cook for ±3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some cognac (I used sherry, just as tasty) and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol is evaporated.


Add the chopped tomatoes and 100g of rice (this will work as the thickener) and add this all to the prawn broth (including the heads and shells). Let simmer on low heat for another 20 - 25 minutes until the rice is cooked through. Let cool slightly.


Remove the bayleaves and ladle the soup (in batches) in a blender and whizz until smooth, ± 2 minutes per batch. Strain the soup through a sieve, gently pushing it through with the back of a ladle and discard the leftover pulp (see notes).


Pour it back into the pan and heat up the soup, add a squeeze of lemon, an additional drop of cognac (or sherry) and 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Taste and season with pepper and salt if needed.


Just before serving melt the rest of the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until foaming. Add the chopped prawns and some finely chopped parsley and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.


Serve with crispy croutons and a slice of lemon on the side.

Crispy croutons


Preheat the oven to 200°C.


Slice the baguette diagonally into thin long slices (± 5 mm thick).


Brush with olive oil and season with pepper and salt.


Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 5 - 8 minutes until just starting to go brown (they will crisp up when cooled down a bit).


  • I like using par baked baguettes you buy at the supermarket for this. They're still a bit firm so they're easier to slice thinly without crumbling.
  • The recipe says to strain it again through a muslin cloth, to get an extra smooth and silky texture. I only strained it once and was already very happy with the result.

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