Shrimp Stock

In building a solid culinary foundation, it is important to be able to not only make the widely known and utilized recipes, knowing and being able to execute more niche items is equally essential.  Knowing how to make shrimp stock might not seem crucial, but without it, your seafood dishes might feel like they’re missing something.

Shrimp Stock Ingredients:

  1. ½ # Shrimp Shells
  2. ¼ C. Olive Oil
  3. 2 Gal. Cold Water (Divided)
  4. 4 Oz. Garlic (2 Heads)
  5. 2 Small White/Yellow Onion
  6. 2 Celery Stalks
  7. 1 Leek
  8. 6 Oz. Tomato Paste
  9. ½ Oz. Tarragon
  10. 750 Ml. White Wine
  11. 6 Ea. Bay Leaves

Shrimp Stock Method:

  1. Finely dice onion, celery, garlic, and leek and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to large rondeaux (or a large Dutch oven) over medium high heat.
  3. Add shrimp shells and sauté until all the shells are red in color.
  4. Make a small hole in the center of the shrimp shells and add tomato paste.
  5. Fry the tomato paste for 1-2 minutes or until you notice some browning on the bottom of your pan.
  6. Deglaze with white wine stirring constantly and while scraping the bottom of your pot with a wooden spoon.
  7. Add ½ of your cold water and stir so that everything is combined. Remove from heat and strain the shrimp shells out into a blender. Add enough water to cover the shells slightly.
  8. Process for 30-45 seconds, it is ok if some larger pieces of shell remain. Add back to the Dutch oven along with herbs and chopped vegetables.
  9. Bring to boil and turn down to a simmer skimming constantly.
  10. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a chinois.
  11. You can now place the stock back on the heat and reduce it to your liking. I recommend reducing it by half.
  12. Cool in an ice bath and store in the refrigerator for 1 week or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 Recipe Recap

It is important to me that, while informative, these recipes have a grounding in the real world. I prefer to buy easy peel shrimp rather than peeled for the purpose of having these leftover shells. Like the previous recipes, the amounts, and ingredients here are very flexible. You obviously need to have shrimp shells for this, and I recommend keeping the tomato paste, white wine, and tarragon, but the rest of the ingredients can be increased, decreased, or omitted at will.

Timing Difference

You’ll notice that this is the only stock recipe that we’ve done thus far where the vegetables are finely chopped. This is solely due to the time difference in cooking shrimp stock vs chicken stock or beef stock.

It is also the reason we blended the shells in the beginning of the recipe. We’re trying to extract as much flavor as possible as fast as possible. There are a lot of impurities in the shells and bodies of these shrimps and the faster we can get the flavor out the better. I also find it easier to skim the impurities with as little in the pot as possible, that’s why I like to strain it before reducing.

Stronger Flavor

This is the only stock in our recipe series where we added alcohol. A few reasons for this. First, shrimp has a very pronounced and pungent flavor, and we achieve some softening of this with the addition of sugars in the wine.

Also, alcohol helps release flavor molecules that are otherwise undetected by the tongue. The tarragon we add here also brings a lot of flavor to the stock, this is simply to further soften those shrimp flavors, we want a balanced and palatable final product and these two ingredients help to produce that for us.

Crafting shrimp stock may seem like a niche skill, yet its absence can notably impact the depth of your seafood dishes. This recipe optimizes flavor extraction by blending shrimp shells and utilizing white wine to mellow the pronounced seafood essence. The finely chopped vegetables and early blending process expedite the flavor release, while tarragon and white wine balance the robust shrimp flavors, culminating in a versatile stock for enhancing seafood-based culinary creations.