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Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, Exclusive: Light and Creamy Shrimp Bisque


Adding the shrimp shells to flavor the bisque broth adds great flavor to this soup. It tastes like it just jumped out of the sea. But don’t limit yourself to shrimp for this bisque. Any shellfish would be delicious: crab, lobster, crawfish, you name it. I used to make my bisques with cups and cups of half-and-half. Yet I’ve found that a half cup is really all you need to create a smooth and decadently creamy soup.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 large leeks (white and light green parts), thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving 


  1. In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over high heat. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the brandy. Return the pot to the heat and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Stir in the water, . teaspoon of the salt, the thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the solids.
  2. Return the empty pot to the stove. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter. Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink but not quite cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the celery, leeks, garlic, and a large pinch of salt to the pot. Cook over medium heat until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour in the reserved shrimp broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir the shrimp back into the pot and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender to puree right in the pot). Return the soup to the pot and stir in the milk, half-and-half, cayenne, and the remaining . teaspoon salt. Simmer until hot, then add the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6


More about Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Recipes All Lightened Up

Paula Deen has lost over 40 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for over two years by swapping out ingredients to reduce fat and calories. Paula’s key to weight loss is moderation and accountability, and one day a week she still enjoys good old southern cooking with biscuits and all. One does not have to give up taste when reducing calories, and these recipes are a testament to that. Paula shares 250 of her favorite recipes lightened up. This brand-new, New York Times best selling cookbook presents lightened up versions of fifty of her classic southern recipes and presents new recipes that cut the calories but not the delicious taste.

The New-York Times Best-Selling cookbook, Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, is now available now at Amazon, Costco, Barnes & Noble, Target, and your local bookstores!

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.