It’s kräftskiva (crawfish time) in Sweden and after celebrating at home with our family I couldn’t bring myself to toss out the shells. There is such a minimal amount of meat in those little crawfish bodies and such a vast amount of flavor in the shells that it seems a waste to just bin them. And what better way to get two meals out of one and get your family/guests to help you with the work? They enjoy the whole crawfish and do all the peeling for you, then you smash up the shells and cook up a smooth, rich bisque that gives you the treat of crawfish one more time. A little more bang for your buck, and a tribute to those little red crustaceans. This was so rich that my husband couldn’t believe there was only 1/2 cup (120 ml) of cream in it.
If your crawfish were not cooked in dill, you can add a generous bunch of crown dill to the cooking liquid and boil it along with the shells, bullion, and leeks. You can serve it with, or without crawfish tails added at the end of the cooking. Be sure to have some crusty french bread to go with it and ideally a dry white wine.
2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) crawfish cooked in dill, shelled and tail meat reserved
6 cups (1 1/2 liters) chicken or fish bullion
2 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 cup cooked rice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
6-8 ounces (170-225 g) crawfish tails (optional)
fresh dill for garnish
Crush the shells and heads of the crawfish with a meat mallet or rolling pin and place in a stockpot large enough to hold the shells and remaining ingredients. Add the bullion, leeks, and crown dill if using. Bring to a boil and let simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Carefully strain the liquid through cheese cloth into a clean container. Place the cooked rice, 3-4 cups of broth, and tomato paste in a blender and purèe on high. Strain the purèe back into the previously strained broth. Stir in the cream and heat gently, but do not boil, until hot enough to serve. If using crawfish tails you can add them directly to the soup when you add the cream or sauté them quickly in a little butter just to heat them through and mound them in the center of the bisque after ladeling it into serving bowls.