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Shellfish Stock


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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I can’t believe that in five years of blogging, this recipe hasn’t been posted on The Domestic Man. There’s no excuse, it was very shellfish of me (sorry, I had to). To be fair, I did post a lobster stock recipe last year, so there’s that.

The idea for writing a shellfish stock recipe came from the fact that over the last couple months I’ve basically eaten my weight in crawfish; since we now live so close to Louisiana, it’s really cheap when in season, and super fresh. Heck, there was even a crawfish festival in the town we live in a while back. But I was always bothered by the fact that everyone throws their crawfish shells away afterwards, so I started bringing them home to make stock. Instructions on how to make stock with other shellfish, like crab and shrimp, are also provided below.

One of my favorite aspects of making shellfish stock, or any stock in general, is that it presents an opportunity to cook with some items that often end up in the garbage (or compost bin). For example, I prefer using parsley stems in my stocks because it frees up the leaves for other recipes, and it’s one of the better ways to use up celery “hearts” (the center part), since they’re mostly leaves.


Shellfish Stock (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30-friendly)​

  • Servings: yields ~2 quarts
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

4 lbs cooked crawfish, 2 lbs crawfish shells, 2 lbs crab shells, 3 lbs shell-on shrimp (head-on preferred), or 1/2 lb shrimp heads/shells
2 tbsp butter (ghee okay)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery plus leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley, stems only, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp whole black or white peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1. Prepare the seafood. Peel the crawfish, reserving the tail meat for a future cooking adventure (hint: next week’s recipe). If using crab shells, be sure to remove the tomalley (the yellow “guts”) as they can give your stock a bitter taste. If using unpeeled shrimp, peel them and set the shells/heads aside; at this point the only appropriate thing to do would be to make my Bam Bam Shrimp recipe with the peeled shrimp. A small confession: when peeling shrimp for stock, I like to throw a few whole shrimp into the stock with the shells for good luck.

2. In a large stockpot, melt the butter (or ghee) over medium heat, then add the onion and celery. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the shells, parsley stems, and peppercorns. Sauté until the shells are brightly colored, and the parsley is bright green, about 2 minutes, then add the wine; simmer until the wine evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add enough water to cover everything by 1″, about 3 quarts. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to med/low and gently simmer for 40 minutes.

3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth, then cool. It will last a week in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

** Wondering what to make with shellfish stock? Look no further: Blue Crab and Chipotle Bisuqe, Blue Crab and Chipotle Bisque, or Brudet (Croatian Seafood Stew) will all do nicely, and risotto with shellfish stock can’t be beat (inspiration here). Better yet, next week’s recipe will feature this stock!

** The easiest way to save up shells for stock would be to just save them as the opportunities arise. Going to a fancy seafood dinner, or making a seafood feast at home? Save the shells in a doggie bag, then freeze them in a resealable bag for when you want to make stock.

** To make this dish Whole30, use ghee in place of butter and 2 tbsp white wine vinegar instead of the white wine.

Now that my mind is set on crawfish, here are a couple examples of my crawfish eating/cooking adventures this summer:

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