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If you love shrimp (and aren’t allergic), I suggest making your own Homemade Shrimp Stock.
Shrimp stock isn’t something that a lot of people tend to make at home. However, it is the best way to extract tons of flavour from your leftover shrimp shells and tails!
It adds extra flavour to your seafood dishes — vs. adding chicken or vegetable stock — maintaining a seafood flavour at no additional cost.
Once you make this stock, I bet you will never throw shrimp shells away again!
The next time you have a batch of shrimp shells, DO NOT throw them away. Utilize leftover shrimp shells to make an amazingly flavourful stock! This simple shrimp stock is easy to make, economical, and freezable. It’s a great way to boost the flavours of soups, stews, and sauces.
I like this recipe since it’s just dump-and-go – The pressure cooker does all the work for you and allows you to make this seafood stock without babysitting it like you would on the stove. Just turn it on and leave it to do its thing!
You can have it as is or use it to upgrade seafood recipes instead of water.
If you don’t have time to make the stock when you are using the shrimp, don’t discard the shells. Put them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or container and freeze them for later use. If tightly closed, they’ll keep for about three months until you’re ready for them.
The recipe uses shells from 500g/one pound of shrimp, but it can be adjusted depending on the weight of your shrimp. Seasonings can be to taste. I usually improvise with what I have at home.
If you want, you can freeze the stock or part of it.
Here are some great recipes that would be even better with this shrimp stock:
- Shrimp Alfredo – Make this Chicken Béchamel (white) Sauce Recipe, however, use this shrimp stock instead of chicken broth.
- Honey Garlic Shrimp and Brussels Sprout
- Shrimp and chickpeas Mediterranean salad
- Moroccan couscous with shrimp
- Shrimp Stroganoff
- Shrimp Sauce for Pasta or Spaghetti Squash
Check out my article with the Smart tips you should know when cooking shrimp for a perfect shrimp every time.
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- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Shrimp shells - heads, shells and tails from 500g/1 pound of shrimp - rinsed
- 1 Onion - quartered with skins on
- 1 Carrot - large, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk Celery - or leek - coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp Garlic - min 3 cloves, fresh, Peeled, chopped large or smashed
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp Peppercorns - or optional to taste
- 1/2 tsp Coriander seeds - or optional to taste
- 2 tbsp Parsley - chopped or dried
- 1 sprig Thyme
- 1 sprig Chives - chopped or dried
- Salt - optional to taste
- 3 tbsp White wine - or lemon juice/peels/wedges or vinegar – optional
- 6 cups Water - or enough to cover - room temperature
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Making in the pressure cooker
- Add oil and shrimp shells to the pot. Sear the shrimp shells until pink and release an incredible aroma.
- Then add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and sear the veggies until they start to soften up.
- Add in cold water, coriander seeds, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, chives, peppercorns, wine, and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
- Important: It’s important not to fill the pot above the 2/3 total capacity because it releases liquid as it cooks, and you don’t want your pressure cooker overfilled.
- Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and cook for 10-15 minutes at HIGH pressure.
- Natural Release – After finishing the cooking cycle, allow the pressure cooker to release pressure naturally. This takes less than 20 minutes.
- Note: It’s okay if your pressure cooker turns to the “keep warm” setting. This will not affect the time it takes to release pressure.
- Open the pot and skim any foam or debris from the top of the stock.
Making on the stovetop
- Add the oil and shrimp shells to a large, heavy-bottom pot on medium heat.
- Cook and stir the shrimp shells until pink and release an incredible aroma.
- Then add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until the veggies start to soften up.
- Add in cold water, coriander seeds, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, chives, Peppercorns, wine, and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
- Cover the pot, leaving the lid a bit angled, and bring to a boil.
- Note: After the initial boil, cook in a gentle simmer, as the agitation from rapid or high heat might break up the protein and cloud the stock.
- Reduce heat and simmer lightly for 20-30 minutes.
- The longer the stock simmers, the more concentrated the flavour.
Strain the stock
- Using a slotted ladle, remove the largest pieces of the vegetables and shells from the broth.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or pot and pour the stock through the strainer. Squeeze well to extract all stock and flavour from shells and vegetables.
- Discard the shells and vegetables.
- Use immediately, or cool before refrigerating or freezing.
- If you like a very clear stock, strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Tip: I’m not particularly eager to use a fine-mesh strainer for the first straining because the large pieces of vegetables and shells tend to clog it and make it hard to clean.
In the fridgeYou can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
FreezingYou can freeze this stock in freezer-safe containers and store it to use later. You can also freeze the stock in ice cube trays for easier storage and thawing. Pour the stock into the ice cube tray and freeze. Once rock-solid, remove the cubes from the tray and transfer them to resealable bags or freezer-safe containers. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Freezing shellsIf your shrimp shells are not enough to make the stock, put them in a freezer bag or container and freeze until ready to use. I save the shrimp shells when I make shrimp dishes that don’t need stock and store them in the freezer. Then, when I have enough, I use them to make stock – no need to thaw, I put them in frozen. Stored properly, they’ll keep for about three months.
Can I double up the recipe?Sure! If your pressure cooker is big enough, feel free to increase the amount of shrimp, veggies, and water. Cooking time stays the same. You can add more water if you'd like. Just make sure you don't pass the ⅔ mark.
Golden colourUse yellow onion in making this shrimp stock; the peels or skin of the onion help deepen the colour of the stock giving it a beautiful golden colour.
How to get a really clear shrimp stockThis recipe for shrimp stock will produce a rich, decadent and flavourful stock, but it will have a pretty particular colour. Instead of a deep, dark brown like beef or chicken stock, it will have a bit of an orange tinge that some people find a bit sickly looking. I actually like this look, and I use it like this. If you have a problem with a slightly orange, yellow-y tinge to your stock, it isn't too hard to remove some of the colours. Strain your shrimp stock through a cheesecloth after straining away the majority of the solids. The cheesecloth will help to remove some of the extra colours from the stock without taking out any of the flavour, perfect for when you are looking for a more transparent and more attractive stock.
How can you use shrimp stock?Everyone is familiar with using chicken, beef, or pork stock as a sort of filler ingredient able to be used in pretty much any savoury application when liquid is called for. Shrimp stock has a very distinctive, shrimp-forward flavour, but what's interesting is that it is not intensely fishy. Unlike homemade fish stock, which can only be used to create a fish soup, shrimp stock can add a giant hit of umami saltiness to almost any dish. You can use homemade shrimp stock to replace store-bought fish broth/stock and even clam juice. While it can be used to make an incredible shrimp dish or soup, it could also be used as the liquid base for some homemade noodles. Or use it in place of chicken stock for any recipe where some shrimp and umami flavours won't conflict with the already present ingredients. Shrimp broth is a good base for recipes with shrimp that take sauce, such as risottos, paella, bisque, gumbo, pies, shrimp with catupiry, moquecas, bobós, soups and whatever else you want. The broth adds much more flavour to the dishes. Or you could just pour it into a cup, add some salt and enjoy it as a simple, low-calorie soup snack! Shrimp stock is massively versatile, and even if you don't plan on making something like shrimp soup, you should definitely make some stock the next time you eat some shrimp at home.
SubstitutionsYou can use shellfish shells (e.g. crab, lobster) or shrimp heads. If you save vegetable scraps, use them in this recipe! The outer skins of onions help to give this stock its beautiful rich golden colour.
Simple shrimp brothIf you don't have time to make the stock using mirepoix, prepare this shrimp broth that takes just 15 minutes, and there is no need to cut vegetables.
Prep timePrep time does not include the time for peeling the shrimp.
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