During the 40 days of Lent, my favorite recipe for shrimp bisque may be of special interest for those who practice the tradition of eating fish or seafood on Fridays.
But this bisque is so flavorful and easy to prepare that I imagine you’ll want to try it any day of the week. Especially when you see how many nutrients it contains—starting with its namesake ingredient…
Shrimp is a healthy source of protein, marine essential fats, vitamins, and minerals. A serving contains half your daily requirement of selenium, along with plenty of vitamin B12, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Plus, shrimp gets its pink color from ingesting marine carotenoids, including astaxanthin—a potent antioxidant.
Shrimp (and other kinds of shellfish) was once on the “do not eat” list because it has natural cholesterol content. But it’s long been established that any cholesterol in foods is totally broken down during digestion and doesn’t influence blood cholesterol levels. Meaning the advice to avoid shrimp is not based on the science. Not to mention, wild-caught shellfish (and fish) are part of the healthy, balanced, Mediterranean diet that I always recommend following.
Broccoli is also chock-full of a wide range of carotenoids. And it’s an excellent source of vitamins C and K. Plus, broccoli and its fellow cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage have been shown in studies to have a wide range of health benefits—including reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Onions are loaded with fiber and are good sources of vitamin C and phosphorus. Research shows that onions can help reduce your risk of cancer, regulate blood sugar, and fight osteoporosis.
Cayenne pepper is a potent spice that has been consistently shown to benefit health and longevity. Cayenne is one of the best sources of vitamin C outside of citrus fruits, and is rich in carotenoids.
Black pepper is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help fight cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It contains vitamins B, C, E, and K, along with calcium, manganese, and potassium.
Milk and half and half are rich in calcium and protein, of course, but are also good sources of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. I always advise consuming full-fat milk, which has been shown in studies to be more effective than fat-free milk for lowering your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
And of course, the chicken broth base for this bisque is legendary for boosting the immune system (the proverbial “chicken soup”).
So, to summarize, in one simple soup you get the following nutrients:
- Calcium (which you should always get from your diet, NOT from supplements)
- Iron (which is also important to get from your diet rather than supplements)
- Protein (complete protein, meaning all amino acids are included)
- Vitamins B, C, E, and K
Pretty impressive, right? So—let’s get cooking!
Shrimp Bisque (serves 4)
- 1/4 cup chopped organic onion
- 3 tbsp organic butter
- 3 heaping tbsp flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (because cayenne is spicy, adjust to suit your taste)
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 pint (about 2 ½ cups) organic half and half (warmed)
- 1 pint (about 2 ½ cups) organic, full-fat milk
- 2 cubes chicken bouillon
- 1 pound peeled, uncooked, sustainably sourced shrimp, chopped and drained
- 2 cups fresh or frozen organic broccoli, chopped into small bits and drained
In a large stockpot, sauté the onion in butter. Add the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme. Add the warmed half and half, very slowly, while stirring. Add the milk, and then stir in the chicken bouillon cubes. Add the shrimp and broccoli, and cook on medium heat (without letting the mixture come to a boil). Stir until thick, and serve.