Servings: Serves 6–8
- 1/2 yellow onion , chopped
- 1 medium leek , chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel , chopped
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 plum tomatoes , chopped
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Oloroso sherry
- 1 pound medium head-on prawns or shrimp (about 25 to 30), plus a few extra for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 sprigs of parsley , plus more for garnish (optional)
- 6 sprigs of thyme , plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
In a wide (4-quart) saucepan, cook onion, leek, and fennel in butter over medium heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; continue to cook until most of the water from tomatoes has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add sherry and simmer until reduced by half, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in prawns, rice, cream, and half-and-half; bring to a simmer. Add parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, then gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
Discard herbs and prawns. Puree soup in a blender, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper; season to taste with salt.
Quickly boil extra prawns (if using) until no longer translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Place 1 boiled prawn in each bowl with a few extra herb sprigs (if using).
Chef Armstrong recommends pairing this dish with a Fino sherry.