Feb 3, 2019

Lobster Bisque

Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
The key to good lobster bisque is consistency and a generous amount of lobster meat.

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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.

Lobster Bisque

What Makes a Good Lobster Bisque Recipe?

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.

lobster meat

All About Lobsters

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.

homemade seafood stock lobster shells

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Lobster – This recipe can be made using cooked whole lobsters or lobster tails. It’s added at the end of this recipe so it doesn’t overcook in the bisque.
  • Mirepoix – The vegetables that are sautéed as the base of the lobster bisque to create a flavorful foundation are carrots, celery and onion. This combination is referred to as sofrito in Italian and is often called a mirepoix in French. While they are later strained out in this recipe they work to flavor the soup.
  • Rice – Any medium to long grain rice variety can easily be used for this. The rice is added to act as a thickening agent for the soup. It’s cooked until it’s very soft then blended into the broth and strained for a smooth soup. This method cuts down on the amount of cream needed to create a rich, velvety soup.
  • Brandy – Brandy is used to enhance the flavor of the soup. If you don’t have brandy, sherry can also be used.
  • Herbs – A mixture of thyme, tarragon and bay leaves are used in this soup recipe.
lobster bisque recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Lobster Bisque

For the seafood stock:

  1. Heat oven. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Roast the shells and vegetables. Add the shells, onion, carrots and celery to a baking sheet and roast until browned, about 30 minutes.
  3. Cook the stock. 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.
  4. Strain the broth and store. 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:

  1. Cook the aromatics. 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.
  2. Make the broth. 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
  3. Strain the broth. 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.
  4. Add rice and cook to thicken. 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.
  5. Add cream. Whisk in the cream and simmer until the soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add lobster meat and serve. 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 additional brandy.
lobster bisque recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Lobster Bisque

Print Pin
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

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 , plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups seafood stock
  • ½ cup long-grain white rice
  • cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ¾ pound cooked lobster meat, chopped, divided

Instructions:

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 a bit of the brandy.

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  1. Love this recipe! When friend/family eat lobster, they always give me the lobster heads/body because they don’t know any better. To me, this is the best part of the lobster. I used them to make your recipe and it came out awesome! It tasted even better the next day and what I was happy about is that the cream did not separate from the stock. It was creamy and even tastier. The rice was the secret ingredients. Awesome recipe! Thank you!

  2. This was wonderful! I had lobster stock in the freezer from a summers worth of lobster and found this lovely recipe. Other than my premade stock, I followed the recipe exactly and it did not disappoint. I will make this again and I will most definitely be trying additional recipes from you. Thank you!