lobster bisque recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Lobster Bisque 

Lobster bisque reminds me of luncheon dates with my mom at Legal Seafood. Located in the Short Hills mall in New Jersey, we would always stop at Legal Seafood for  a bowl of lobster bisque after an afternoon of shopping. The trick was always to save the buttery dinner rolls that were served before the meal for dipping in the rich bisque. 

The key to good lobster bisque is consistency and a generous amount of lobster meat. The bisque should be thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon but not so thick that it is clearly thickened with a slurry mixture and develops a weird gelatinous consistency. It should be a silky and luxurious soup – not chunky. Adding rice to a soup until it is extremely soft and then blending it helps to thicken a soup while keeping the desired texture. 

Whole lobsters are preferable for the bisque because of the amount of meat that can be taken out of them and because homemade stock can be made from the shells. However, there are a variety of other ways to obtain the main ingredient. Already cooked lobster meat can be found at many seafood stores. Frozen lobster tails can also be quickly poached and chopped for use in this recipe and the shells can be used for stock. Many seafood markets also sell high-quality seafood stock that you can substitute if you don’t want to spend the time making your own. 



For the seafood stock: 

2 (2-pound) cooked Maine lobsters, meat removed and reserved for bisque or 6 cooked Maine tails, meat removed and reserved

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

4 celery stalks, roughly chopped 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 head garlic, top ¼ trimmed off 

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 

Kosher salt, as needed 


For the lobster bisque: 

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

7 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 cup brandy

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

6 cups seafood stock

½ cup long-grain white rice

1½ cups heavy cream

Kosher salt, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed 

¾ pound cooked lobster meat, chopped, divided

¼ cup sherry



For the seafood stock: 

Heat oven to 400ºF. 

Add the shells, onion, carrots and celery to a baking sheet and roast until browned, about 30 minutes. 

 Add to a large stockpot with the tomato paste, 12 cups of water, the garlic and peppercorns. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate broth in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months. 


For the lobster bisque: 

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrot (a mirepoix) until the onion becomes translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon, bay leaves, peppercorns, brandy, stirring, until almost all liquid is evaporated, about an additional 5 to 8 minutes.  

Add the tomato paste and stir to combine then add the fish stock and 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced by about a third, about 45 minutes

Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the leftover solids. 

Return the bisque to the pot over medium heat. Add rice and cook until the rice is extremely soft, about 30 minutes. Add mixture to blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve then return to pot. 

Whisk in the cream and simmer until the soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. 

Turn the heat down to low and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add ½ pound of the lobster meat and stir to combine, reserving some for garnishing the soup. Divide among warmed soup bowls and top with the remaining lobster and finish with sherry. 


Serves 6. 



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