Bisque de Crevettes (The original recipe by A.Escoffier)

Bisque de Crevettes – the original recipe by A.Escoffier (1907)

From: A Guide to Modern Cookery by A.Escoffier

(published in 1907 by William Heinemann, London based on the 2nd edition of Le Guide culinaire of same date).

Georges Auguste Escoffier (October, 28 1846 – February 12, 1935) was a famous French chef, “le roi des cuisiniers et cuisinier des rois” who simplified and codified the French “haute cuisine”. He demanded cleanliness, quiet and discipline from his staff. The professional kitchen was elevated from a raucous and disorganized place to one where efficient management became the norm. Escoffier’s recipes, techniques and approaches to kitchen management remain highly influential today.

You can visit the Escoffier Museum of Culinary Art in Villeneuve-Loubet near Nice and St.Paul de Vance. It’s located in the house where he was born.

Here is the original recipe from Escoffiers’ Le Guide Culinaire, the “bible” of French cooking:


The mode of procedure for this bisque, the mirepoix, the thickening ingredients, the moistening, and the finishing of the soup are identical with those of No. 662. All that is needed, therefore, is to substitute for the crayfish two lbs. of raw shrimps. Instead of using ordinary butter in finishing this bisque, use three oz. of shrimp butter. Garnish with twenty-five reserved tails, these being shelled and trimmed. This soup may also be prepared as a veloutd or a cream.


(i) Cut into very small dice one oz. of carrot, one oz. of onion, and two parsley stalks. Add a fragment of thyme and bay; brown this mirepoix with butter, in a saute pan; throw in fifteen crayfish for ” Bisque ” (their average weight being about one and one-third oz.), and toss them in the mirepoix until they acquire a very red colour. Sprinkle with two tablespoonfuls of burnt brandy and one-quarter pint of white wine, season with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of ground pepper, and set to reduce. This done, moisten with one-quarter pint of white consomme and leave to cook for ten minutes.  Also cook three oz. of rice in one and one-half pints of white consomme.

(2) Shell the crayfishes’ tails and put them aside; also reserve eight carapaces. Drain the crayfishes of all their cooking liquor; finely pound them and their remains and the mirepoix. Add the rice, properly cooked, and the cooking-liquor of the crayfish, and rub through a sieve, first, and then through tammy.  Add to the resulting purde one-half pint of white consomme, set to boil, wielding a whisk the while, pass through a strainer, and then keep the preparation in a bain-marie, taking care to place a few lumps of butter on its surface lest a skin should form while the bisque is waiting to be served. Finish the preparation when dishing up with two and one half oz. of butter, three tablespoonfuls of excellent thick cream, and a very little cayenne. Garnish with the crayfish tails cut into dice, and the eight carapaces stuffed with a fish forcemeat with cream and poached seven or eight minutes previously. This soup may also be prepared as a veloute or a cream.

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