The 5th Friday of Lent and Shrimp Bisque

There are certain things I can recall so vividly – such as the first time I ever tasted a Bisque Soup. It was at a very upscale restaurant in San Francisco that, sadly for now, is closed for business.

Julius’ Castle is just that, a castle-shaped building that sits on Montgomery Street in the Telegraph Hill district of San Francisco. It opened as a restaurant sometime around 1924, although no one seems certain of the date. The property began as the site of a two-story grocery store in 1886, and later became the family home until it burned down in 1917. Then in 1923 Julius Roz, the new vacant lot owner, began construction on his castle. Throughout the 1920s, the castle was painted pink and even operated as a speakeasy during prohibition. The posh restaurant was once popular with the likes of Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Ginger Rogers and even Robert Redford. It served as the set for the 1951 film, The House on Telegraph Hill. Julius’ Castle breathed its last breath as a commercial business in 2007. There was hope that the iconic restaurant with its views of the bay would reopen when the city approved plans for a new eatery in 2017. However; Telegraph Hill residents complained and lawsuits followed. The latest word is that Julius’ Castle might throw open its doors in 2023, but thus far that hasn’t happened.

Over the years, with rising crime, cost of upkeep and the toll the pandemic shut downs have taken, San Francisco is not the city it once was. Much of its history has been forever lost to boarded up properties and rundown shacks. It’s sad on so many levels.

While my Louisiana Shrimp Bisque pales in comparison to elegant flair of the Lobster Bisque once served at Julius’ Castle, it does has a certain down-home comfort. Hubby liked it, so that’s a plus. Even Kiddo thought it was good. I think next time I make this bisque, I might add some lobster and scallop to the recipe, creating an elevated Seafood Bisque. For now, I hope you enjoy this simple offering of a Lenten Friday repast.

God Almighty, we offer up all who are sick
All who are lost
And all who are in most need of Your grace
We ask that You bless us abundantly
Through Your healing powers and mercy.
For You alone are God
You alone are the Most High
Jesus Christ

Louisiana Shrimp Bisque
1 lb large Shrimp
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Celery Ribs
1/2 Orange Bell Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves
3/4 cup Butter
3/4 cup Flour
2 cups Half-and-Half
4 cups Seafood Stock
2 cups Water
1/4 cup Brandy
5 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Warm French Bread for serving

Peel, devein and remove tails from shrimp. Keep shrimp chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cut onion in half from root to tip. Reserve half for another purpose, peel and dice remaining half, set aside. Clean, trim and dice celery, set aside. Stem bell pepper, cut in half. Reserve half of the bell pepper for another purpose. Remove seeds from remaining half, dice pepper and set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Once butter begins to foam, add flour. Stirring constant, cook roux for 6 minutes. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning to the roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 more minutes.

Place roux in a blender. Add Half-and-Half, blend until smooth. Return mixture to the Dutch Oven. Add Seafood Stock, water, brandy, tomato paste, hot paprika and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, let cook for 40 minutes. Whisk occasionally to keep bisque smooth. While the bisque simmers and the flavors develop, snip parsley as a garnish and set aside.

To finish the Shrimp Bisque, remove shrimp from the refrigerator. Dice shrimp into bite-size pieces, add to the bisque. Continue to simmer another 8 minutes or until shrimp are pink yet firm.

When ready, ladle Shrimp Bisque into soup bowl, garnish with parsley and serve with warm French Bread.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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