Buying shrimp with the head and shell on is a lot cheaper than buying them already peeled, I mean disproportionately cheaper considering the small amount of work required to peel them! If you need further convincing, here is a way to put the shells to good use! I like to park it in front of the TV and peel shrimp (or any other tedious part of food prep), a habit I inherited from my father. This stock can be reduced and used as a sauce, or reduce it even further and freeze it in an ice-cube tray, that way you have your shrimp stock on hand anytime you need it. Use the cubes in a pasta sauce, shrimp bisque, or fish stew. I use a pressure cooker, but if you don’t have one – stop what you are doing and reconsider your life choices – use a stock pot/dutch oven.
2 1/2 pounds (1 kg) of shrimp shells
3 celery sticks, with stalk
3 carrots, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 leak, sliced both white and green portion
2 tbs butter
1 tsp black or white pepper corns
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
3 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, whole
7 cups water
- In the pressure cooker (or your choice of stock pot) sauté the chopped onions and shrimp shells in the butter.
- Add the leaks, carrots, celery, and spices. Add the water.
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker, let cooker come to pressure then cook for 30 mins. In a dutch oven or sauce pot, bring to boil before lower temperature and allowing to simmer at least 1 hour.
- Strain the stock, throw away shells and vegetables. Don’t bother trying to squeeze out any juice from the vegetables as they will have already given their flavor to the broth, by mashing them you are just making your stock murky.