Oyster Artichoke Bisque is a rich and creamy bisque perfectly balancing the brininess of oysters and the mild, distinctive flavor of artichoke. This bisque is so delicious that it's recognized as an expected staple on restaurant menus throughout South Louisiana. Thankfully, you don’t have to eat out to enjoy this Creole specialty. Here’s Sweet Daddy D’s no-angst recipe with step-by-step instructions for Oyster Artichoke Bisque.
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A New Orleans Tradition
Is this Oyster Artichoke Soup? Yes, a bisque is a type of soup that generally uses heavy cream to produce a smooth, velvety consistency on the thicker side. It's perfectly fine to refer to this as a soup or as a bisque. Its originator called it Oyster Artichoke Soup.
The first time I had Oyster Artichoke Bisque, I was blown away! It was years ago at one of my favorite New Orleans restaurants and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Fresh oyster and artichoke in a creamy bisque...what's not to love?? It’s not often that the origin of a Cajun or Creole classic can be traced definitively to its creator, but Oyster Artichoke Soup was originally created by the late Chef Warren Leruth of the world-famous LeRuth’s Restaurant in Gretna, across the river from New Orleans. Sadly both Chef Leruth and his world-class restaurant are gone, but Oyster Artichoke Soup has become a staple of Creole cuisine and New Orleans restaurants.
Here’s What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
Here is some of the equipment I used to prepare this recipe:
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Dutch Oven, Prep bowls (cambro), Prep Bowls (glass), Measuring Cups (metal), Measuring Cups (glass), Measuring Spoons, Cutting boards, Chef's Knives, Spatulas, Whisk, Small Food Processor, Strainer, Slotted Spoon
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Here’s What You Do
First...you have a beer. Making Oyster Artichoke Bisque may seem complicated before you tackle it, but it really is pretty simple if you’re in the right frame of mind. We’ll make this no-angst by doing some mise en place and having everything prepped and ready. Take a swig of that beer, read the recipe completely and make sure you have all the ingredients. Break the process into three parts: prepping the oysters and vegetables, cooking the vegetables and roux, then finally simmering the bisque with the oysters.
Mise en place
Drain the oysters through a strainer placed over a wide measuring cup or bowl. The juice will filter through the strainer, so just stick it in the fridge and let it drain until you need it. It will continue to drain for quite a while. Reserve the liquid.
Here are the rest of the mise en place steps.
- Chop the yellow onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic and artichoke bottoms and place them in a bowl together. We’re going to run those through a food processor later, so no need to go nuts with the chopping.
- Chop the artichoke hearts and the green onions and place each in their own bowl.
- Measure the Creole seasoning, white pepper and heavy cream.
- Have the chicken stock handy but no need to measure it out until you see how much oyster liquor you get. You’ll adjust the amount of chicken stock based on the oyster liquor to get a total of 5 cups of liquid. Two pints of oysters may provide about 2 cups of juice, more or less, so, in that case, you’d add 3 cups of stock to make 5 total cups of liquid.
Saute and process the vegetables
What Happens in this Step? The first step is to create a base that will impart the mild but distinct flavor of the artichoke and serve as a thickener for the bisque.
Melt four tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottom Dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the chopped artichoke bottoms, onions, green peppers, celery, and garlic. Saute the vegetables until the onions are clear and everything is starting to brown a little, stirring often. Be careful not to burn anything as this will take 15 to 20 minutes.
Puree the vegetable mixture and set it aside.
Add a stick of butter to the same Dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter is bubbly, add the AP flour and make a light roux. You don’t want the roux to brown, so stir constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes as the flour taste cooks away.
Thoroughly combine the pureed vegetables, and about half the Creole seasoning and white pepper with the roux. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes more, stirring it often.
Turn it into bisque
What happens in this step? Now we turn the vegetable base we just created into a rich, creamy bisque.
Take the oyster liquor you've been accumulating and pour it into a large measuring cup. Leave the strainer over the original bowl with the oysters and return it to the fridge. The oysters will continue to drain and we will use that extra oyster liquor later. Confirm how much oyster liquor you have and add enough chicken stock to make 5 total cups of liquid. Give it a stir. Add the liquid a little at a time to the vegetable/roux, making sure to mix it all thoroughly before adding more liquid. This will assure a smooth bisque with no lumps.
Once about half of the liquid has been added in this manner, you should have a smooth paste. Stir until you do!
Add the rest of the liquid and stir it all together until smooth. Bring the mixture to a heavy simmer.
Next, add the chopped artichoke hearts. Reduce the heat and slowly simmer the whole thing for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered.
Add the heavy cream slowly, keeping a constant simmer for another 5 minutes.
Finish by adding the oysters
Once the bisque has simmered for about 5 minutes, add the oysters a few at a time. Stir well between each addition. Once all the oysters have been added, add that extra oyster liquor that's accumulated!
Add the green onions, the rest of the Creole seasoning, and the white pepper. Stir it all together well.
Simmer for about 5 more minutes until the oysters are curling up on their edges.
Taste the bisque for seasoning and make any adjustments needed. Cover the Dutch oven, remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes while the flavors continue to meld. Check the bisque again for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.
Tip: Remember the oysters, Creole seasoning and even the stock will have salt, so taste the bisque before you add any kosher salt. That's it, simple as that!
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
This bisque can be refrigerated in an airtight container for about 3 to 4 days.
The bisque can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Before freezing, bring the bisque to room temperature, then chill it for two hours in the fridge before placing it in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stove.
Tips for freezing Freezing may affect the texture of the oysters, but the flavor will be fine. If the cream starts to separate while reheating, simply stir the bisque slowly until it comes back together. Do not refreeze Oyster and Artichoke Bisque once it has been defrosted. I recommend freezing small batches so you can defrost just what you plan to eat.
Fresh, shucked oysters will come in their own juice, also called oyster liquor. Collecting that oyster liquor is a key step in this recipe. Drain the oyster through a strainer or small colander set over a 4 or 8 cup glass measuring cup. Pour the accumulated juice into another vessel in which we will add the stock. Make sure to keep the oysters in the strainer and place that back over the original measuring cup. Return the oysters to the refrigerator (you want to keep the oysters cold) and they will continue to drain. It seems like they could drain forever, but it's all good...you’ll add that extra oyster liquid into the bisque when adding the oysters and you want as much as you can get.
Add the oysters near the end of the process. They don’t take long to cook and can get a little rubbery if cooked too long.
Be careful adding salt. Oysters come from brackish water habitats, so they may be pretty salty. Many commercial creole seasonings (Le Bon Papa Creole Seasoning is salt and MSG free!), stocks, and butter may also contain a lot of salt. Taste the bisque after the oysters have simmered for about 5 minutes before deciding to add more kosher salt.
When making any gumbo, soup or bisque, you’ll get a better result if you use stock instead of just plain water. Homemade stock is great because you can control what goes in it (like salt!), but there are a lot of commercial stocks available that bring just the right flavor. Water, not so much. Check out some recipes for homemade stock below.
You can substitute commercial vegetable or seafood stock for the chicken stock, but I don’t recommend it. Chicken stock is mild but flavorful and won’t overtake the oyster juice. I have found when using vegetable stock in this recipe the final dish lacks some of the depth of flavor that chicken stock adds. The commercial seafood stock can somewhat conflict with the oyster liquor. Sweet Daddy D's Homemade Seafood Stock does not include fish, so there is a better match with this bisque's flavor profile. Substitute if you have to, but if you can't find any chicken stock in the grocery store, check out Sweet Daddy D's Homemade Chicken Stock or grab some Commercial Chicken Stock at Amazon right here. I would use water before a commercial seafood stock.
A pint of oysters should have between 12 and 18 oysters, maybe a few more, depending on their size. If you have fresh oysters available, use about 3 dozen freshly shucked oysters with their liquor. Check your local seafood purveyor to see if they have some fresh oysters in a jar, or you could check with the Cajun Grocer (cajungrocer.com) and get some fresh Louisiana oysters sent to you. I have no affiliation with Cajun Grocer but I want you to have access to the best!
Yes, artichoke hearts and bottoms are available in cans. Use the ones packaged in brine or water and not marinated in oil and spices. Drain any liquid before using. Frozen artichoke hearts and bottoms are very good to use.
Add the oysters near the end of the cooking process. They don’t take long to cook and may get a little rubbery if cooked too long. That's not optimal.
Here are some other great Oyster Recipes from Sweet Daddy D that you will love:
Here are some of Sweet Daddy D's recipes for homemade stock:
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Yeah You Right!
Oyster Artichoke Bisque
Here's What You Need
- 2 pints Raw Oysters
- 1 ½ - 2 cups Oyster liquor (from above) see Notes
- ¾ cup Butter in all
- ½ cup Yellow Onions chopped
- ½ cup Green Peppers chopped
- ¼ cup Celery chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 6 whole Artichoke bottoms rough chop
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon White Pepper
- 6 whole Artichoke Hearts chopped
- 3 cups Chicken Stock See Notes
- 1 cups Heavy Cream
- ½ cup green onions
- To Taste kosher salt see Notes
Here's What You Do
- Drain the oysters in a strainer and reserve the liquid. Set the oysters aside while they drain. Chop the artichoke bottoms, yellow onions, green pepper, celery and garlic and place in one bowl. Chop the artichoke hearts and green onions and place each in their own separate bowl. Measure all other ingredients except the stock.
- In a heavy bottom dutch oven, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat until foaming. Sauté the artichoke bottoms, onions, green peppers, celery and garlic until clear and starting to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the vegetable mixture with a slotted spoon to a small food processor. Puree the vegetable mixture and set aside.
- In the dutch oven, melt ½ cup butter until foaming, add the flour and stir to make a light roux, about 4 or 5 minutes to get the flour taste out. Mix the pureed vegetables completely into the roux, add about half of the creole seasoning and white pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add enough chicken stock to the oyster liquor to make 5 cups of liquid. (see Notes) Leave the oysters in the strainer and set aside, reserve all the liquid that continues to drain.
- Add the oyster juice/stock to the roux/vegetable mix, starting with small amounts and stirring to completely blend everything together before adding more. Once about half of the liquid has been added in this way, add the remainder, stirring completely.
- Bring the mixture to a heavy simmer. Add the chopped artichoke hearts and mix well. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered.
- Add the heavy cream and stir together until completely blended, simmer another 5 minutes.
- Add the oysters a few at a time, stirring well in between-make sure to add any oyster juice that has accumulated. Add the green onions and the remaining Creole seasoning and white pepper and mix well.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes until the oysters are curling up on their edges and are cooked. Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt to taste. The oysters may be salty so remember to taste the bisque before you add salt.
- Cover and remove the bisque from the heat and allow to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.