Low-Carb Lesson #53: Di’s Ultimate Low Carb Shellfish Bisque

Low Carb Cooking 101

I love soup, and I love shellfish. What better way to combine the two than in a hearty shellfish bisque? Serve it up with a tangy salad and some low carb muffins and you’ve got a meal fit for Neptune. It might even calm to Sea Witch down. (When ‘The Little Mermaid’ came out, I had to watch it 7,439 times with my daughter. I kept hoping for the darn VCR tape to break, but no such luck.)

I don’t know what I like more about soup: the taste or the fact that one batch of soup make a whole bunch of meals. It’s a toss-up, I suppose, but needless to say, I never make a small pot of soup from scratch. Ever. Shoot, it doesn’t take any longer to make a big batch and I have a freezer, so I have nothing to lose.

Soup is a great thing to take to people who are sick, who are old and don’t want to cook any more, or who are moving and can’t take the time to cook even though they’re sick to death of fast food meals. Everybody likes soup!

Here’s this evening’s menu:

  • Di’s Ultimate Shellfish Bisque
  • Luscious Lemon Salad
  • Low Carb Corn Muffins

Here’s the shopping list for the meal. You may very well already have some of these things on hand:

  • 2 8-ounce packages frozen cooked salad shrimp
  • 1 16-ounce package prewashed salad greens of your choice celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 8 to 10 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • green onions or fresh chives
  • 2 lemons or 1 lemon and some bottled lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 3 6-ounce cans cooked crabmeat, undrained
  • 3 10-ounce cans clams, undrained
  • 2 14.4-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • finely shredded cheddar cheese (optional – for garnish)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • jarred minced garlic
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar (optional)
  • dried parsley
  • granular Splenda
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • sesame seeds
  • paprika
  • lemon pepper
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 17.7-ounce canister of Keto Original Bread Mix
  • 1 10.3-ounce package CarbSense Corn MiniMuffins
  • not/Starch or your favorite low carbohydrate thickener

Here’s the game plan:

Make the Low Carb Sesame Croutons a day or two ahead of time or the morning before you plan to serve the meal. Store them in a Zip Lock bag.

About 45 minutes to an hour before you plan to serve the meal, set the table. Don’t forget to put out a napkin-lined basket for the Low Carb Corn Muffins. Prepare the Luscious Lemon Salad, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve everything else.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare all the vegetables for Di’s Ultimate Shellfish Bisque and prepare the bisque according to the recipe instructions.

While the bisque is simmering, prepare the Low Carb Corn Muffins according to the package directions and put them in the preheated oven to bake.

Re-toss the salad and serve it. Serve the bisque. Take the muffins out of the oven and put them in the napkin-lined basket, and sit down to a well-deserved, relaxing meal.

And, finally, here’s the recipes:

Di’s Ultimate Shellfish Bisque

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 14.4-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (OK, OK, you can use bottled lemon juice, but fresh it better!)
  • 2 packages cooked salad shrimp, thawed but undrained
  • 3 6-ounce cans cooked crabmeat, undrained
  • 3 10-ounce cans clams, undrained
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons not/Starch or your favorite low carbohydrate thickener
  • 2 – 3 drops Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 drop Liquid Smoke (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • paprika (optional – for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh green onions or fresh chives per serving (optional – for garnish)
  • 1 to tablespoons finely shredded cheddar cheese for serving (optional – for garnish)

Melt the butter over medium to medium high heat in the bottom on a large Dutch oven. Add the chopped onions and diced celery to the butter and sautè them until the onions are soft. Add the cream cheese and stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted.

Add the chicken broth, clam juice, heavy cream, and water to the Dutch oven. Stir slowly until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the thawed, undrained salad shrimp, the undrained crabmeat, and the undrained clams. Stir again to combine everything thoroughly.

Add 1 tablespoon not/Starch to the ingredients in the Dutch oven and stir constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bisque begins to thicken. If the bisque is thick enough for your personal taste, don’t add any more not/Starch, but if it isn’t add a second tablespoon of not/Starch, again stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes to let the thickening process take place. If it still isn’t thick enough, add a 3 tablespoon of not/Starch and repeat the process until the bisque reaches the desired thickness.

Reduce the heat under the Dutch oven to medium low and add all the remaining ingredients except the chives or green onions that you are going to use for a garnish. Stir to incorporate all the seasonings and spices. Taste test and adjust the seasonings.

Reduce the heat under the Dutch oven to low and simmer the bisque for 5 to 10 minutes to let the flavors blend.

Serve some immediately and freeze the rest in individual portions to have at a later date.

Makes 12 to 15 servings.

***Note: If you miss having potatoes in your soup, you can steam fresh or frozen cauliflower that has been cut into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bisque when you add the shellfish.

Luscious Lemony Salad

  • 1 16-ounce package prewashed salad greens of your choice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 3 greens onions, finely chopped
  • 8 to 10 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • juice of one fresh lemon
  • same amount of olive oil as lemon juice
  • dash of white wine vinegar (optional)
  • pinch of granular Splenda (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)

Combine the salad greens, diced cucumber, finely chopped green onions, and cherry or grape tomatoes in a large nonmetallic salad bowl. Toss to distribute the vegetables evenly.

In a small nonmetallic bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Taste test and adjust the seasonings according to your own personal taste.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss so that everything is evenly coated with the dressing.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until it is time to serve your meal.

Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending upon appetites and whether there are any small (or uncivilized) children who merely glance at a salad and say, “Yuk!”

Sesame Croutons

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 17.7-ounce canister of Keto Original Bread Mix
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • additional softened butter for greasing loaf pan
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with additional softened butter. Set aside.

Mix the warm water and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Add the entire contents of the Keto Original Bread Mix. Mix thoroughly and quickly with a fork, but do not over-beat. (See directions on the Keto Original Bread Mix canister.) Pour mixture into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is a nice, golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Melt the 1/4 cup butter and pour it into a medium-sized bowl. Pour the sesame seeds into a medium sized-bowl. Set both bowls aside.

Remove the loaf from the refrigerator and the plastic wrap and slice it into 1/2-inch slices. Slice each slice into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the bread cubes into the 1/4 cup melted butter and then into the sesame seeds.

Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet. Try not the have any cubes touching each other, if possible.

Bake the bread cubes in a 200-degree oven for one hour. Turn the cubes, and continue baking for 1 hour more, or until the croutons are completely dried. Test the croutons for doneness by pressing into one with your thumbnail. There should be no “give” or softness. They should be brittle.

Cool the croutons on a wire rack. When completely cool, place the croutons in a Zip Lock bag for storage. These keep quite well for months.

Yield: a bunch of croutons

***Note: Even though these are low carbohydrate croutons, don’t go hog wild with them. One quarter cup of croutons is plenty to give your salads some crunch and interest.

Low Carb Corn Muffins

OK, here’s where I cheat, because when I’m making a quick meal I don’t want to be baking bread of muffins! (The Low Carb Sesame Croutons don’t count. I made them days or even weeks ago.)

There are several good low carbohydrate corn muffins mixes on the market. One brand I have used and liked very much (even my kids – the original non-low carb Philistines liked them):

MiniCarb Corn Muffins by CarbSense Foods

These are improved, however, by mixing in 1/4 cup sour cream to the batter before baking them. (Everything is improved by adding sour cream to it!)

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