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Shrimp soup CRAYFISH SOUP

For this soup, regular shrimps may be used instead of the more expensive, Finnish noble crayfish, or a mixture of both.

Cook the shrimps yourself, for example following the instructions here, or use ready-cooked fresh or frozen shrimps.

about 20 cooked noble crayfish or about 1 kg unshelled medium-sized shrimps
large knob of butter
sunflower, corn or light olive oil
1 carrot
1 small onion or large shallot
(small piece of celery root)
1 - 2 tbsp tomato paste
a few thick dill stalks
2 bay leaves
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
5 - 6 white peppercorns
1 l fish stock, shrimp stock
or water and good-quality fish fumet
200 ml white wine
or lemon juice and water
dash of cream
(salt)
(pinch of cayenne pepper)
(dash of cognac and/or dry sherry)
chopped fresh dill or crown dill

Preparation of crayfish:
Shell the crayfish following the instructions here. Reserve the meat from the claws and tails, remove the veins from the tails. Cover and refrigerate. Discard the crayfish heads and thoraces with inner organs, but reserve the shells from the bodies and tails.

Preparation of shrimps:
If using frozen shrimps, let them thaw overnight in refrigerator, covered, in a colander placed over a bowl to catch the dripping juices. Peel the shrimps. Remove the veins from the tails, place the tails in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Reserve the heads and tail shells  —  you should have about 600 grams of them.

Preparation of the soup:
Peel and cut the carrot and onion (and celery root) in small cubes. Slightly crush the dill stems with a back of a spoon. Set aside.

Melt and heat the butter with some oil in a large, shallow saucepan. Add the reserved crayfish or shrimp scraps and sauté in the hot fat, stirring continually, for about 6 to 12 minutes. Add the vegetables and some tomato paste and continue to fry for a couple of minutes longer. If you want, you can flambé the mixture with cognac or/and sherry at this stage for added flavour.

Shrimp soup Add the herbs and peppercorns, the boiling fish stock and wine and bring the stock to the boil. Let the stock simmer only for up to 20 minutes, as longer cooking time may induce the crustacean shells to impart a chalky taste in the stock. Skim any foam forming on the surface with a slotted spoon.

Strain the stock and pour back in a clean saucepan. Add a dash of cream, bring to the boil and cook rapidly until somewhat reduced, for about 10 minutes, or until the soup has a nice, strong flavour. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, cognac and/or sherry, if required.

Divide the reserved crayfish meat or shrimp tails between soup plates and pour over the hot soup. Sprinkle with chopped dill or crown dill and serve immediately with some good bread or baguette slices.

Recipe source: adapted from "Kräftsoppa med abborrefiléer" by chef Örjan Klein, SVT/UR-akademin: "Fiske i älv och sjö", 2000.


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