Thomas Keller's Shellfish Broth

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Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

This recipe adapted from Thomas Keller's "Bouchon" (Artisan, 2004)


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8 ounces (about 1 ¾ cups) shallots, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) carrots, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and smashed

  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) fennel, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) plum tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch cubes

  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc

  • ¼ cup Pernod

  • 20 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley

  • 8 sprigs fresh tarragon

  • 3 dried bay leaves

  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads

  • 1 pound mussels, washed

  • 1 pound clams, such as Manila, washed

  • 1 pound oysters, washed


  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add shallots, carrots, and garlic; cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add fennel; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Add wine and Pernod; simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Add thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add chicken stock; bring to a simmer. Add saffron and shellfish; return to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat; let sit for about 15 minutes. Prepare an ice-water bath.

  4. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Strain again using same strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Repeat 2 or 3 times, rinsing cheesecloth and strainer each time, until broth runs through cheesecloth like water.

  5. Transfer broth to ice bath. Stir occasionally, and cool. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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