Homemade stock is a crucial element in delicious soups and stews. It was no surprise to find a great stock recipe in Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders and Emeril’s Rich Shrimp Stock is the base for his Cajun Shrimp Stew.
Although it is easy to do the entire recipe in an afternoon, it’s helpful to have the stock recipe prepared in advance.
Here in landlocked Colorado, it was not easy to find a source for just the shrimp shells and heads for the stock. Most large grocery chains now have their fish products trimmed at a larger facility and shipped to them case-ready.
The few shells from the shrimp for the stew was not enough for a great stock. To improvise, I asked Whole Foods for a 3-4 pound fish head, which they had.
Availability of scraps and carcasses can simply be an issue of timing, though a good fishmonger will usually have something to offer in their freezer. It’s worth asking.
As Emeril indicates in the introduction to the recipe, it makes a remarkable difference to roast or brown the bones or carcasses. Roasting the savory vegetables in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes will caramelize the sugars and deepen the flavor of the stock even more.
Allowing time for it to reduce will create an aromatic and richly fortified stock. You do not want to skip this step in the process, but you may want to open a window. 😉 With this Rich Shrimp Stock you are one step closer to Cajun Shrimp Stew!
Emeril's Rich Shrimp Stock
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells and heads
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I recommend avocado oil)
- 14 cups water
- 1 large onion , unpeeled, roughly chopped (the onion peel deepens the color of the stock)
- ½ cup roughly chopped celery
- 2 small carrots , coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , peeled and smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 large sprigs fresh parsley
- Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.
- In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heat-safe bowl and allow it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before using. (The stock may also be placed in airtight containers and frozen for up to several months.)