Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque.

How do I love thee? I could count the ways, but it would be much easier to just say that you might just be the perfect soup.

Honestly, a good lobster bisque is such a wonderful treat. I love how the smooth, velvety soup is broken up only by chunks of yummy, sweet lobster. This is definitely a special occasion soup in our house, although this last time I made it I wondered why we didn't allow ourselves to enjoy it more often. Hence the one and only New Year's Resolution I have this year - make more lobster bisque!

I've done my best to post my recipe here. I've been making this soup for years and have never before written it down, because I do my best cooking by taste rather than precise measurements. Somehow even though I've never followed a recipe this soup always comes out tasting the same...must be magic! But when making it earlier this week I decided to finally jot down the steps, so I could post it here and hopefully encourage others to try it too. Or you could just come over and let me make it for you, helping me fulfill my New Year's Resolution of course :)

Oh, and the best part about this soup (other than the taste, of course)? Even though it sounds fancy, other than the lobster tails the rest of the ingredients are very basic, probably things you already have in your kitchen. There - now you have NO excuse not to indulge!


2 lobster tails
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
Shrimp and/or crab shells, optional *see note*
2 tsp. olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup half-and-half
2 green onions, chopped

* If I have them handy (they aren't absolutely necessary), I like to add discarded shrimp or crab shells at this step, to enhance the seafood flavor of the broth. I made this on New Year's, and hit the jackpot because we had both shrimp and crab legs a few days before, so I had lots of extra shells to add.


1. Place lobster tails in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water (about 4-6 cups), and add bay leaf, Old Bay, chicken bouillon, and seafood shells (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until lobster tails are bright red and start to curl up. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard all solids except for lobster tails.

2. Place lobster tails on a cutting board. Split with a knife, remove the meat, and chop meat into small pieces. Reserve shells.

3 . Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate onto the vegetables. Pour in clam juice, the lobster broth, reserved lobster tail shells, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, season again with salt and pepper, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into a large bowl, then return to the stockpot. Discard all solids (or, if you are like my husband and can't bear for food to go to waste, you can pick out the lobster shells and eat the vegetables, ha). Bring broth back up to low boil over medium-high heat.

4. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook 1 minute. Slowly add half-and-half, whisking constantly. Once mixture is thoroughly combined, thick and creamy, stir into broth, whisking constantly.
*Note: After this, if your soup isn't as thick as you would like, just create another roux by combining 1 Tbsp. melted butter and 1 Tbsp. flour in a sauce pan. Whisk together then stir directly into soup - this will thicken it a little more!

5. Remove bisque from heat and stir in lobster meat and green onions. Serve warm with crusty bread for dipping. Perfection!

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