We had a dinner party for friends last Sunday. I had planned to make crab and shrimp. There were some gorgeous shrimp on sale at the store. I decided to buy four pounds, which is the most shrimp I have ever purchased. I thought, “That’s a lot of shells. I bet I could make a soup stock out of those.”

This is the way many of my cooking inspirations start. I take a manageable menu and decide to make one more dish. As it turned out, the whole menu was manageable and the soup was really quite good. I have a new thing to make! You can make it, too.

First, the shrimp stock. The recipe makes about 8 cups.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 cups shrimp shells (from 4 pounds of shrimp)
  • 2 unpeeled red onion sliced into large pieces
  • 2 unpeeled carrots, sliced into thick rounds
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste (or 1/2 cup of tomato sauce): Note: I substituted 3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and about 1tablespoon of Sriracha sauce.
  • 8-10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 or 3  bay leaves
  • 12 cups of water, or to cover.
  • salt
  1. Saute shrimp shells in olive oil in a stock pot. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except water and salt. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, over medium heat, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add water and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping the browned bits (the fond) with a spoon, and combining them with the rest of the stock ingredients.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Strain stock with a colander set over a large bowl or pan. Add salt to taste. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.

    Here’s my stock, right before I strained it. Look at the color!


Now for the soup!


  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
  • 8 cups shrimp stock
  • 1, 28 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato
  • 3 or 4 medium-sized potatoes, diced. (I used Yukon Gold and kept the skin on.)
  • 4 pounds of clams, in their shells, rinsed with cold water.
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat. Cook until translucent or if you prefer, until they brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Add shrimp stock and deglaze onion and garlic bits from the bottom of the stock pot.
  3. Add canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and potatoes. Bring to a slow boil.
  4. Cook until potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Lower heat, add clams, and cover the pot. Cook, checking every couple of minutes until clam shells open.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley.