Friday Fish: Spicy Tomato-Shrimp Stew (Stove Top or INSTANT POT)

I’ve been on a roll lately adapting a few of my favorite stovetop soup recipes to the INSTANT POT (IP); you’ll have noticed if you’ve been reading along. It’s total fun and I’m hooked.

What’s an INSTANT POT?   Click here to learn more.

A trial run on an IP riff off my Quick and Lusty Tomato (above) had me eating out of the pot one day and wondering about what this might be like with the addition of seafood. Lent has just begun and we eat fish on Fridays for those forty days–a healthy nod to our faith and the Mediterranean Diet.  I’m nearly obsessed with poaching whatever’s at hand in my soup or recreating it with some addition for a changed second meal.

Poached eggs in soup–a favorite breakfast.

Crab or shrimp were calling, for sure. A quick check in the freezer indicated shrimp would be on the menu and after I cooked the soup, I used an America’s Test Kitchen method for cooking the shrimp in the soup in a covered pot after taking it off the heat. It worked perfectly and just about eliminated the worry about overcooking the shrimp–which is shrimp’s biggest problem in the kitchen. I indicate a 7-minute off heat “poaching” period of time, but that might need adjustment given factors like

  • the size or number of your shrimp (or if they’re a bit frozen)
  • the weight of your pot
  • the strength of the boil just before you added the shrimp

A careful bit of trial and success will produce a simple swift soup with shrimp feast every time.

I also made the soup alone (no shrimp) in the IP and include directions for that below the stovetop version.

No time to make soup? Buy your favorite tomato soup in the deli, heat it up, taste and adjust the seasonings, and follow the directions in the recipe for cooking the shrimp. (Do read the labels on purchased soup. Check ingredients, fat content, sodium and sugar levels, etc.)

By the way:  Eating fish on Fridays is a long-established Christian Lenten idea and is, I’d guess, sort of an simplified form of fasting–one of the traditional Lenten practices.  (Others are prayer and giving to the poor.) Whether or not you are a practicing Christian or just someone who’d like to add a little more fish to your diet, I hope you’ll enjoy More Time’s Friday Fish series for the next forty days. Easter is then just around the corner and this year it’s on April Fool’s Day. Lent began yesterday with Ash Wednesday...


…which was also Valentine’s Day. Our UCC Lenten devotional –pictured above– this year is hence called, LOVERS AND FOOLS.   

    Below:  Dogs (Rosie and Tucker) keeping us company last night at the table


However you make this meal, make it soon; make it fast. Good pun, eh?  Try this with some crusty whole-grain bread:


The soup is tasty all by itself without the shrimp and is easily vegetarian or vegan. Replace butter with olive oil and skip both the cheese and shrimp for a vegan version.  Omit the shrimp for a vegetarian version. Large crunchy croutons are a tasty addition in either case.  INSTANT POT Directions for the soup alone or with pre-cooked shrimp are included below this stovetop recipe.

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 each:  medium carrot and stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (2 ounces), optional
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Hot sauce to taste–begin with a drop or two, adding more as needed
  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, deveined, shelled, and tailed
  • OPTIONAL GARNISHES: 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, and Minced Scallions or Fresh Basil.

STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: In an 8-quart heavy pot with lid, heat butter and oil over medium-high flame; add onions, carrot, celery, and zucchini.  Sauté, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, adding garlic for the last minute. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, basil, thyme, and parsley; cook another minute or two.  Pour in wine, if using, and let cook down two minutes.  Stir in broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Add hot sauce, if using.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until all vegetables are very tender–about 20 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings.  Purée using a hand-held immersion blender or carefully in batches in the food processor or blender. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat and add shrimp. Cover with a lid and let sit, without uncovering, for about 7 minutes. Test shrimp for doneness (opaque and firm), covering again and letting shrimp “cook” another minute or so if not cooked through.  Serve hot immediately with garnishes as desired.

{printable recipe for stove top and IP versions}

WINE:  Want red? Try an inexpensive Beaujolais.  I like the slightly spicy soup with white.  Go for an off-dry Washington Riesling or even an Oregon Pinot Gris.


Select SAUTÉ and set for NORMAL.  Add butter and once it begins to melt, tip in onion-fresh parsley (fresh vegetables and herbs).  Sauté, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are softening. Stir in wine, if using; let cook down a minute or two. Press CANCEL.

Pour in broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir well. Place lid on pot and secure. Close pressure release valve. Select MANUAL and set for 6 minutes.  When soup is finished cooking, use the natural release to depressurize. When complete, use a wooden spoon to open the pressure release valve and allow remaining steam to escape.

Open pot. Purée using an immersion blender (or carefully in batches in a food processor or blender). Add a drop or two of hot sauce to taste.

Add pre-cooked shrimp. Serve hot immediately with desired garnishes.

INSTANT POT Note:  I feel sure you could add raw shrimp after the soup has cooked in the Instant Pot, cover, and check for doneness after 6-7 minutes similarly to the stove top version. I have not, however, tried this; I made only the basic vegetable soup in the Instant Pot. If you do make the IP version with shrimp in the pot, let me know!


If you liked this, you might also like my Easy Shrimp Meals.  Want more fish? Search under FISH AND SEAFOOD or FRIDAY FISH.

Cook a new shrimp dish,


One thought on “Friday Fish: Spicy Tomato-Shrimp Stew (Stove Top or INSTANT POT)

  1. Pingback: Cod Poached in Garlicky Broccoli Soup with Fresh Herb Salsa | More Time at the Table

Leave a Reply