SHRIMP SOUP with OUZO
12 cups water
2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells reserved
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only) finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped trimmed fennel (about 2 medium bulbs)
1½ cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup minced shallots
2½ cups chopped seeded tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup ouzo (unsweetened anise liqueur) or anisette
Combine water and shrimp shells in heavy large pot (cover and refrigerate shrimp). Bring water with shells to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Cover and remove from heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large Dutch oven over low heat. Add leeks, fennel, bell pepper and shallots. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Uncover vegetables; add tomatoes and garlic and sauté until tomatoes soften and almost all liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Add wine and boil 1 minute. Strain shrimp stock into vegetable mixture. Boil until mixture is reduced to 8 generous cups, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Puree half of soup in blender in batches. Combine with remaining soup. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add shrimp; sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add ouzo. Carefully ignite with lit match. Remove from heat; allow flames to subside.
Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon some of shrimp and cooking liquid from skillet into each bowl. Garnish with fennel.