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SHRIMP STOCK

Read a note about the flaws of Finnish stocks here.

Instead of discarding the heads and shells of raw or cooked peeled shrimps, you can use them to make a simple seafood stock.

Besides the ingredients listed below, you can add other vegetables, herbs and spices, like carrot, leek, celery root, parsley, thyme, etc, to the stock.

about 600 - 800 g scraps from peeled medium-sized shrimps (heads and tail shells)
butter and oil
1 small onion or large shallot
a few thick dill stalks
5 - 6 white peppercorns
2 bay leaves
about 1 l water
(dash of white wine or lemon juice)

Heat the butter and oil in a large, shallow saucepan. Add the shrimp scraps and sauté in the hot fat, stirring continually, for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover with water and bring to the boil (see the pictures below).

Figure 1 Arrow Figure 2
Cover the stock ingredients with water   Bring to the boil and simmer for up to 20 minutes

Simmer the stock for up to 20 minutes  —  longer cooking time may induce the shrimp shells to impart a chalky taste in the stock. Skim any foam forming on the surface with a slotted spoon.

Shrimp soup Strain the stock through a fine sieve, pour in a tall and narrow dish, cover with plastic and place in refrigerator to cool. Remove any fat that may have solidified on the surface of the stock with a spoon. The stock will keep for a couple of days in refrigerator, or you can freeze it for later use.

Use the stock as a base or flavour additive for various fish and seafood soups or sauces, like crayfish or shrimp soup (pictured on right).

Note: weak-tasting stocks and sauces (and, indeed, many other foods) are the worst flaws of Finnish cuisine. Perhaps as a remnant of the once poor diet where fresh ingredients were scarce, they are used very stingily even today, especially in stocks and soups, the weak flavour of which is then enriched and overpowered with all sorts of unnecessary supplements or excessive use of spices and thickening agents. Finns do not grasp the idea that the flavour of a dish is created mainly by its main ingredients, whether meat, seafood, vegetables or fruit, instead of spices and stock cubes.


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