Prawn & fennel bisque

Prawn & fennel bisque

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(22 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 55 mins


Serves 8

A luxurious seafood soup that is rich in flavour, perfect for formal entertaining and low in calories too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Good for you
  • Easily doubled / halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal120
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs7g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre3g
  • protein7g
  • salt1.17g
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  • 450g raw tiger prawn in their shells
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped, fronds reserved
    Fennel bulb

    Fennel bulb

    Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate – its strong aniseed…

  • 2 carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp brandy



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 1l fish stock
  • 2 generous pinches paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

To serve

  • 150ml pot double cream
  • 8 tiger prawns, shelled, but tail tips left on (optional)
  • fennel fronds (optional)


  1. Shell the prawns, then fry the shells in the oil in a large pan for about 5 mins. Add the onion, fennel and carrots and cook for about 10 mins until the veg start to soften. Pour in the wine and brandy, bubble hard for about 1 min to drive off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes, stock and paprika. Cover and simmer for 30 mins. Meanwhile, chop the prawns.

  2. Blitz the soup as finely as you can with a stick blender or food processor, then press through a sieve into a bowl. Spend a bit of time really working the mixture through the sieve as this will give the soup its velvety texture.

  3. Tip back into a clean pan, add the prawns and cook for 10 mins, then blitz again until smooth. You can make and chill this a day ahead or freeze it for 1 month. Thaw ovenight in the fridge. To serve, gently reheat in a pan with the cream. If garnishing, cook the 8 prawns in a little butter. Spoon into small bowls and top with the prawns and snipped fennel fronds.

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Comments, questions and tips

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11th Apr, 2019
Any vegetarian versions out there?
Clare Weight
15th Jun, 2018
The end result is wonderful but no way this should be classified as 'easy'. It's the most effortful recipe I've ever done from Good Food and I've done a few 'more effort' ones.
5th Dec, 2017
I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, as my mother advised to cook the shells and heads in water before, for about half an hour, in slow heat, in order to create the fish stock. So that was my fish stock and it was really tasty. That's how she normally does the stock for a bisque. (This recipe required frying the shells with everything else, then add fish stock into the mixture, but I created the stock with the shells and heads in advance.) Personally, this tasted better on day 2 than on day 1. The flavours had blended on day 2, not before. The first day I could taste the tomato tin and I wasn't happy about that at all. Not buying fresh and top quality prawns so that they taste like tinned tomatoes! I would recommend not using tinned tomatoes at all, regardless of brand, but instead adding some good quality and fleshy fresh tomatoes (2-3 max), diced, to the initial "sofrito". I couldn't really taste the fennel, it had blended with the other flavours, so don't worry about that if you don't like fennel. Be careful with the stock, don't use a lot, as this can make the soup watery, less better than more. I still prefer my mother's traditional bisque. Similar to this, but at the end, after blending everything, instead of cream she cooks some rice in the soup and serves straight away (fluffy rice such as Spanish bomba rice, basmati wouldn't work at all). It's a good soup, but the tinned tomatoes kind of don't help.
22nd Apr, 2016
Delicious. Changed things slightly, instead of adding tinned tomatoes used a 200ml carton of sofrito (passage). Also added less stock so it wasn't too watery.
20th Dec, 2015
What a fantastic bisque recipe. Tastes amazing. Leave everything in (heads, tail shells, guts, the lot) for the blitzing stage (I saw from a few comments that some people had removed the shells first). I find the quickest way to sieve the blitzed soup is by rubbing it through a big round sieve with the back of a ladle. Only takes a couple of minutes using this method. All the bits clog together on the back of the ladle to be easily discarded. I also sieved mine again after adding the prawns in stage 3. I'll definitely be making this soup again...and again...
18th Apr, 2014
This bisque is delicious. I made it in advance, chilled it and then added the cream when reheating to serve. The shells should absolutely be kept in - it's a bisque! The pressing through the sieve is a little time consuming but worth it to get that lovely smoothness. I sieved it twice. I gave a 4 instead of 5 because although delicious, I felt that the flavour could have better reflected the ingredients, and next time will add more fennel (a bulb and a half) and a bigger pinch of paprika. Only change I made to the recipe was to cook the decorative prawns in garlic butter and served them on little thin sourdough toasts next to the bisque. It went down a storm and I will definitely cook again.
eugenia a.
2nd Jan, 2014
Hello everybody and Happy New Year. I prepared this bisque for Christmas Eve and New Year dinner and everyone really loved it! Thank you for the fantastic recipes you publish in your magazine.
21st Dec, 2013
Likewise, our third year we've made this - just came on-line to print the recipe out again (keep losing it) before I cook up a batch as the appetiser for tomorrow's large family pre-christmas christmas dinner. Yum. Oh yes, and as has already been said..... KEEP THE SHELLS IN!
27th Nov, 2013
This will be year 3 or 4 that I've made this for Christmas Day! It is GORGEOUS! Just looking up the recipe for this year and surprised at some of the comments and ratings. Of course you leave the shells in to blitz. That is the whole point of a bisque. I wouldn't say the sieving is hard work; it's just part of the joy of creating amazing food! I usually sieve twice too for an extra velvety texture. Please give this a try. It really is fantastic!
10th Jan, 2013
I made this soup as a starter for Christmas dinner on the 25th. My guests raved about it and asked for seconds. I made it the day before and just reheated it slowly adding the cream. Great success.


11th Dec, 2017
Salt and pepper? No mention of any seasoning here. I just used a fresh stock which contained no salt and I feel I need to now season the bisque. I guess if using stock cubes then the added salt they contain provides the seasoning?
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Dec, 2017
Thanks for your question. Yes, stock cubes do tend to be generously seasoned. Feel free to add additional seasoning to taste.
17th Sep, 2013
Love this soup and I have made it several times. I leave the shells in and blitz the lot. It is a bit of work pushing as much through the seive as possible but well worth it. One question though, is it just the body shells you fry up or can you use the heads aswell?
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