Bisque of Lake Pontchartrain Crab and Shrimp

Prep Time: 2 Hours
8 Servings


The term bisque refers to a thick French cream soup made of pureed fish, shellfish, poultry, meat or vegetables and traditionally thickened with rice. There are many variations to the bisque including the stuffing of cleaned shellfish heads such as shrimp and crawfish with chopped meat and seasonings, or even further flavored by smoking some of the shellfish.


1 pound (70–90 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined and divided

1 pound Pontchartrain claw crabmeat, cleaned and divided

1 (1-pound) package frozen gumbo crabs

1/4 pound melted butter

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper

2 tbsps minced garlic

1/2 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

salt and ground white pepper to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

1/4 cup sherry

1/4 cup chopped chives


Cut gumbo crabs in half and place in a 1 and 1/2-gallon stockpot. Add 1 gallon cold water, bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Take care not to bring liquid back to a boil during the 1-hour simmering period. Strain, discarding crab bodies, and reduce remaining stock to 3 quarts to concentrate flavor. Set aside. In a 1-gallon, heavy-bottomed saucepot, heat melted butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, minced garlic and carrots. Saute 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add half of shrimp and claw crabmeat and cook until shrimp are pink and curled, 5–7 minutes. Add flour, whisking constantly to create a white roux. Add reserved crab stock, one ladle at a time, blending well into the roux mixture. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Add tomato sauce, heavy cream and Worcestershire sauce. Season mixture lightly with salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. Simmer soup 20–30 minutes and adjust seasonings if necessary. Additional stock or water may be added to retain thick soup-like consistency. Add remaining shrimp and crabmeat then cook 3–5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and curled, stirring often. When ready to serve, place a generous serving into each warm soup bowl, add sherry and garnish with fresh chopped chives.