Prawn and fennel tomato bisque

An impressive starter for a Dinner Party or simply an indulgent weekend dish. Serve with crusty French bread and you have a complete meal that is both stunning to look at and great to eat.

Ingredients

  • 500g of whole prawns (keep a few back for garnish)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 carrot (peeled and rough chopped)
  • 1 large onion (peeled and rough chopped)
  • 1 large fennel bulb (chopped with fronds reserved for garnish)
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 tin of 400g chopped tomatoes
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • 80ml of brandy
  • 1 litre of seafood/chicken stock (chefs tip chicken stock in seafood dishes is lush)
  • 120ml of single cream

Method

  1. Shell the prawns and keep the shells in a large bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and fry the shells for 5-10 mins ensuring you have enough colour on them. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt the remaining butter and fry the carrot, onion and fennel along with the bay leaf until completely softened. Increase the heat and add white wine and brandy allowing it to reduce.
  4. Remove from the heat mix in the flour, tomato puree until a paste has formed, add shells and mix well. Add chopped tomatoes and stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Transfer the mix to a food processor and process until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and bring back to the heat, add half of the cream and heat to a steady simmer.
  6. While waiting for the bisque fry off the remaining prawns in a little butter, season with salt and black pepper. Additionally season the soup
  7. Serve in large heated bowls, drizzle a little of the cream around the bowl. Place the cooked prawns on top and garnish with the fronds of the fennel or picked fresh parsley and enjoy.

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