How to Make Shellfish Stock

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Some time ago, I found shrimp on sale. That shrimp was in its purest form – not de-veined and not peeled. I was over the moon because I had rarely seen this kind of shrimp and now it was even on sale!

Yes, it’s troublesome to peel the de-vein the shrimp yourself. But I’m willing to sacrifice some of my time for this task because I will get shrimp shells in return. Shrimp shells are not technically but I know some people do eat them as well. However, I won’t be eating those shells. I will make a delicious shellfish stock with them.

A homemade shellfish stock is great for whenever you are making any kind of seafood dish. You can turn it into a delicious seafood soup or make a stew. You can also use that stock to make a great risotto!

I use shrimp shells here but the same stock can be made using any other kind of shells, like lobster shells. Use whatever you have on hand! Save those shells and don’t waste them by throwing them into the trash. A flavorful shellfish stock is a great broth that doesn’t need to simmer for as long as beef stock or chicken stock. And it feels much fancier too! So add this shellfish stock recipe to your repertoire, especially if you are doing the GAPS diet. It’s very easy to make. You essentially combine all the shrimp shells and veggies and simmer them for a few hours. You don’t even need to peel the vegetables because you will strain them out later anyway. The ratio of effort to flavor is unbelievable in this recipe!

And just a side note about fat before we get to the recipe itself. I used to avoid shrimp and other foods that contain high cholesterol because I was so afraid that it would cause me to have some kind of heart disease. This was one of the many misconceptions I used to hold. Since then, I have realized that high cholesterol is not associated with heart disease. And that statistics say people with high cholesterol actually live longer.

It always seemed weird to me. People all around me were saying that I should avoid these foods because they would make me unhealthy. But how can the natural fat that occurs in shrimp and fish be harmful? Didn’t our ancestors eat those all the time? Why am I no longer allowed to? I think now that avoiding these foods because “fat is so scary, oh no” is what’s unhealthy. I will gladly eat fat now, as long as it comes from a natural source.

Necessary equipment:

  • a large stockpot OR a slow cooker OR a French oven with a lid
  • a large mixing bowl
  • a large stainless steel strainer
  • glass jars with lids for storing


  • 3 to 5 cups of shrimp shells (or lobster/crab)
  • 1 whole onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ¼ cup of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t. of black peppercorns
  • 1 t. of dried parsley
  • 1 t. of dried thyme


  1. Spread the shrimp shells on the bottom of your stockpot (or slow cooker/French oven).
  2. Add all the vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, celery stalks) and spices (bay leaves, black peppercorns, dried parsley, dried thyme).
  3. Add the tomato paste and white wine.
  4. Fill the rest of the pot with filtered water. Leave about two inches of space below the rim.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover the stockpot with a lid, and then immediately reduce the heat.
  6. Keep simmering the mixture for at least one hour and up to four hours.
  7. Once the shellfish stock is finished, strain all the ingredients out of the pot.
  8. Transfer the stock into glass jars and keep it for use in other recipes.

Enjoy the unique taste of shellfish stock!

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