So for my Gumbo I wanted to make stock from scratch. My first issue was finding head-on shrimp. No one had any. I was going to give up, but I was finally able to acquire a “5” pound box. If you get them this way, be careful. There isn’t actually 5 pounds of shrimp in there since they are frozen in a solid block of ice. It’s usually closer to 4 pounds of actual shrimp.
Started by thawing and cleaning the shrimp. If you’ve never cleaned whole shrimp before this is a great video. I prefer the one handed method myself. I dehead all of then them first, then I use a pair of scissors to cut down the back of them all, and then peel and devein. Deveining is easiest if you have a little stream of running water into the sink. The meat went in one container and all the heads and shells in another.
When all was done I had a little over 2 pounds of shells and about the same in meat
Funny story … as I was about the dehead the first shrimp, the sink gurgled and scared the crap out of me.
- 2 pounds shrimp shells and heads
- 2 medium onions
- 2 large carrots
- 4 stalks celery (of the base and leaves and bitter middle parts)
- 6 or 7 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic
- Remove the hairy roots of the onion and quarter the onion and add to a large pot (leave the skins on, they add flavor and color to the stock)
- Wash the celery and break it into 2 inch or so pieces, add to pot
- Wash the carrot and take a little off the top, break into 2 inch pieces, add to pot
- Mash the garlic with the side of a chef knife and add to the pot (leave the paper on)
- Add the rest of the ingredients and add water to cover by an inch
- Bring to a boil
- reduce to a simmer and cook covered for an hour
- As it simmers use a big spoon to skim off the foamy scum
- after an hour, put the pot in the sink filled with ice and add water to cool the stock as quickly as possible
- Once cool, strain through cheese cloth.
- Optionally you can strain it hot and clean and add it back to the pot and boil lid off to reduce my ¼ to further concentrate the flavors
- Refrigerate and use within a week, or freeze for several months