This homemade seafood stock is made with leftover shellfish, like crab, lobster, or shrimp shells, and is the perfect way to boost the flavor of seafood stews and soups.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little crabby lately.
Wait for it…. Crab-tastic, that is!
In fact, there has been SO MUCH CRAB in my life recently that my not-very-big freezer has been a little overwhelmed.
I’ll wait while you run off and make those crab fries. Just make sure to come back when you’re done.
After I devoured ALL THE CRAB, my freezer was STILL packed– packed full of crab shells in freezer bags. And do you know why??
Because crab shells are not trash!
Oh no, they most definitely are not. Neither are shrimp shells or lobster shells. Why not?
Because they can be turned into the most delicious broth EVER.
Want shellfish recipes so that you can make this stock? Try these: Blackened Shrimp Bowls, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Blacked Shrimp and Grits, Mini Tacos with Shrimp + Pineapple, + Grilled Lobster with Bourbon Sauce.
How to Save Shellfish Shells
The next time you cook crab, shrimp, or lobster, hold onto the shells!
With just a tiny bit of effort, you too can be “that person” with a bag of frozen shellfish debris in their freezer. It’s a fun life– you know you want to join in!
You need the shells from about one pound of shellfish for this recipe, but quite honestly– I usually make this stock in bigger batches.
So, gather your shrimp tails, your crab shells, your lobster shells– you could even make this with crawfish shells.
Stick them in a freezer bag, and pull them out whenever you’re ready to make your life a little more delicious.
Need help preparing your shellfish (before you cook it)? Check out this tutorial on how to steam and crack crab legs.
Will My Kitchen Smell Like Fish?
Yes, it 100% will.
Normally, I am adamant that cooking fish will not make your house smell “fishy.” Unless, that is– the fish isn’t fresh, and in that case you probably shouldn’t be eating it anyway.
Making this broth WILL MAKE YOUR HOUSE SMELL LIKE FISH.
Is it worth it? YES!
But please don’t make this right before your company shows up for dinner, do it the day before. And maybe open a window.
Making Seafood Stock
When you’re ready to get started, grab your large stock pot, and start by roughly dicing up your veggies.
Don’t bother peeling them, but you should clean them extra well! Sauté the veggies and shells, and then let them cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes.
Add water and the rest of the ingredients, bring everything to a boil, and then let it simmer for about an hour.
Strain out all the solids, and voila! You’ve got homemade seafood stock ready to go!
Want to use your seafood stock? Try making Easy Clam Chowder with Smoked Oysters.
3-4 Days (Fridge), 6 Months (Freezer)
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 onion, unpeeled and diced
- 1 lb shellfish shells (crab, lobster, or shrimp), amount approximate Weight refers to the seafood's weight before the shells were removed.
- 2 carrots, unpeeled and roughly diced
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 head garlic, unpeeled, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ⅓ cup tomato paste OR ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 TB sea salt
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 4 sprigs basil
- Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, and seafood shells for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, and saute 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan, cook 10 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
- Strain broth through a mesh sieve. Discard the leftover shells and vegetables. You should be left with approximately 1 quart broth. (If you’ve got less than 1 quart, you can add a little water or white wine.)
- Use broth right away, refrigerate and use within 3-4 days, or freeze broth in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
This recipes is adapted from Ina Garten’s Seafood Stock recipe at Food Network.