3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. minced shallot or onion
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 bottle clam juice
1 1/2 T. tomato paste
3 T. brandy
3/4 lb. medium cooked shrimp
1/2 c. cream
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
2 dashes Tobasco
Chopped parsley or dill to garnish
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the carrots have softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Sprinkle with flour and stir for 1 minute.
Gradually stir in the broth and clam juice. Mix in the tomato paste, raise heat to medium and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste. Lower heat and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Add shrimp and brandy and cook about 3 minutes.
Pour mixture through a sieve set over a bowl. Remove bay leaf. Transfer the solids with a cup or two of liquid, into a blender and process until smooth. To achieve a silky texture, you may need to pass through the sieve again. Discard the solids that remain in the sieve.
Return the puree to the pan. Add the cream, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Simmer gently over medium heat, just to heat through. Serve topped with parsley or dill.