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Shrimp Bisque

1 1/2-lb small size shrimp (40-44 count)
3-tbsp butter
3-stalks celery, finely chopped
2-carrots, finely chopped
1-onion, finely chopped
3-large sprigs fresh thyme (2-tsp dried)
1/2-cup sherry, brandy, or clam juice
1-bay leaf
3-tbsp long grain rice
3-tbsp tomato paste
1-tsp salt
1/4-tsp cayenne pepper
1-cup whipping cream
2-tbsp lemon juice
2-tbsp chopped fresh chives

Peel and de-vein shrimp
Refrigerate shrimp and set aside shells
In Dutch oven, melt half of the butter over medium heat
Fry celery, carrots, onion and thyme, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes
Add shrimp shells, fry, stirring until pink, about 2 minutes
Add sherry and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan
Add 6 cups of water and bay leaf; bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes
Pour through sieve or cheesecloth lined strainer into bowl
Return liquid to Dutch oven
Whisk in rice, tomato paste, salt and cayenne pepper
Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes
Meanwhile in skillet, melt remaining butter over medium-high heat
Saute shrimp until pink, about 4 minutes
In blender puree soup and shrimp in 4 batches until smooth
Return soup to a cleaned Dutch oven
Whisk in cream and bring to a bare simmer over low heat until just heated through, not boiling
Add lemon juice
Ladle into bowls and top with chopped fresh chives