This is an upscale version of the popular classic, but it is still comforting and homey. The shrimp makes it special, and the simple step of simmering the shrimp shells in the stock provides another layer of flavor. Truth be told, if you use plain chicken broth and peeled shrimp, few people will be the wiser—the soup is that good.
Servings: Serves 4–6
Ingredients 3/4 pound (25 to 31 count per pound) medium unshelled shrimp2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth5 tablespoons (1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter , divided1 medium rib celery , finely chopped1/2 cup chopped shallots1 clove garlic , minced1/3 cup all-purpose flour1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice2 cups half-and-half1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoramSalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Combine the shells and broth in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the soup, reserving the broth. You should have 2 cups; add water as needed.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the shallots soften, about 2 minutes.
Add the flour and stir well. Add the tomatoes with their juice. Stir in the reserved broth, half-and-half and marjoram and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the soup is lightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, just until they turn opaque. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the shrimp into the soup and serve hot.