“Ok, I get why to make chicken stock or beef stock,” you may say, “but why make shrimp stock of all things?”
Well, there are actually a number of reasons.
Sometimes the flavor of your food just isn't the same without shrimp stock as its base. Any seafood dish or Cajun cuisine will benefit greatly from this flavorful stock.
And making shrimp stock is a great way to make use of your shrimp shells before composting them. (Assuming you've got a high-heat or bokashi compost set-up, of course. Don't toss them in a regular compost bin.) Yes, you may consider yourself both frugal and savvy!
And shrimp is a nutrient-dense food in somewhat unique ways, meaning shrimp and shellfish are some of the only naturally-occurring sources of iodine, selenium, and the very potent anti-oxidant astaxanthin. Depending on where your shrimp is sourced, it can also be an extremely excellent source of Vitamin D. All these nutrients balance our hormones and promote overall well-being.
It is important to note, however, that eating shrimp can bring just as many ills as benefits if you are not careful to source your fish from a wild, sustainable fishmonger. SeafoodWatch, a service of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, provides an excellent resource for knowing what to look for.
And if you do need to use shrimp from a “questionable” source, just eat a bit of clay or chlorella with your meal to absorb the toxins and usher them safely out of your body. ((Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, pg 238.))
Okay, so let's get to the good stuff….
How to Make Shrimp Stock
makes about 1 quart (halve or double according to how many shrimp shells you have available)
shrimp shells from 1 pound of shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups cold water
1 bell pepper, cut into large strips
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 onion, quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4-5 stems fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat and saute the shrimp shells until they turn completely pink.
Pour in the cold water, add the vegetables and garlic, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the stock is very aromatic. Toss in the parsley and simmer uncovered for additional 5 minutes.
Strain through a strainer to remove the solids and stir in the lemon juice.
Will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days and in the freezer for 5-6 months.
A few tips
You can make lobster stock, crayfish stock, or any other similar crustacean-based stock using this same recipe.
Use any vegetables and herbs you like – peppers, celery, onion, and parsley are merely my favorites in this application. I do recommend avoiding crucifers, however, like cabbage and brussel sprouts – they tend to turn stock bitter.
And speaking of vegetables, it's up to you whether you want to use scraps like celery leaves and onion ends or whether you want to use completely fresh vegetables. Both turn out a great tasting stock.