It’s been a long time since I looked up a lobster bisque recipe because I’ve always made it (and shrimp bisque) the same way. So what I discovered is that I’ve (apparently) been making it wrong all these years. Every recipe I came across called for the veggies (and the veggies vary, per recipe) to be part of the strained stock and not actually part of the soup. Well, I like my veggies and I like them actually in my soup. Now, bisques are a classic and typically they’re strained, but I really don’t want to strain all the good stuff out. I also like my bisque with a little body to it, which is what leaving the veggies in my bisque accomplishes. I hope you enjoy it!
Also, here’s the deal on my stock: I always, always, always make my stocks with the not-going-into-the-actual-soup parts so food doesn’t go to waste. It’s all getting strained out in the end, so add those pieces and parts – veggie tops and ends, onion and garlic skins, herb stems, etc. Your ugly veggie tops and bottoms have the same nutrients as the rest of the veggie, you know? Also, don’t go too crazy on salting your stock because this is going to reduce, reduce, reduce. Better to add more later.
Making your own stock with the lobster shells is really key – it’s the only way to truly achieve that rich, lobster flavor.
For the love of all that’s holy though, please use real butter and cream here. This is meant to be a bit of a decadent dish and the real butter and cream make it oh, so rich. If you only have 1/2 and 1/2, that will work, too. For a gluten-free lobster bisque, omit the flour and add a diced potato when you add the other veggies. This will help add some thickness to your bisque.
As far as the sherry goes – please make it something you’d actually consume on its own. If not, use a nice white wine. If you don’t want to use alcohol, use a really good vegetable stock. It’s lobster we’re working with here and the lobster is the star, so don’t skimp out on the rest of it.
And for Pete’s sake, if you don’t have carrots and celery use your fridge as a guide: leeks, asparagus, broccoli….go for it. Be brave and play with your food a bit.
Lobster Bisque Recipe (a little healthier Lobster Bisque recipe)
For the stock:
- lobster shells
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 carrot tops, ends and peels
- 2 celery tops and ends
- ends and skin from 1 onion, plus 1/2 of the onion (the other half will go into the bisque)
- 4-5 whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- parsley stems
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the bisque:
- 1/2 stick butter (please use real butter)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 3/4 cup sherry
- 7 cups of your freshly made stock
- 2-3 pounds fresh whole lobster, lobster claws and tail or combination of them, shelled and chopped or shredded. Reserve shells for stock.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- additional salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley, for serving
For the stock: place all of the ingredients in a large stockpot, cover with about 8-9 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about one and half hours. Strain through a colander and then strain again through a cheesecloth-lined colander. Set stock aside. Discard solids
For the bisque:
In a stockpot over medium heat, heat pan and melt butter. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute about 12-15 minutes.
Add flour to veggies and stir well. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like my flour to lightly brown a little, but you don’t want to burn it.
Add tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I add my tomato paste here because I like to “roast” a little in the pan. To me, this gives your finished bisque a richer flavor.
Add sherry and, using a whisk, whisk everything together until well blended and there are no clumps of flour or tomato paste remaining.
Add stock. If you need to add a little water to achieve 7 cups, that’s fine. Stir well.
Let this simmer for about an hour. Veggies should be completely soft and soup base reduced by at least a third.
Using an immersion blender, blend the base together until creamy. Now’s a good time to taste it and if you need to add any additional salt or pepper, do so.
Return to low heat, add lobster and cream, and cook just until heated through.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley sprinkled on top.
Be sure and serve this with a warm loaf of crusty bread – it’s good for mopping up every last drop from your bowl.
Enjoy and eat well!