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.
Basic good shrimp stock
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
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse - Food Network