Lobster bisque is a soup that can knock ‘em dead when it’s prepared correctly. Unfortunately, what we find these days is something very different. The real soup is labor intensive and involves lobsters (what else), aromatic vegetables, herbs, and cream. Unfortunately the ever-increasing cost of fresh lobster and the sheer time it takes to prepare this soup the old-fashioned way, today’s lobster bisque is often based on milk that has been thickened with roux, with a few cans of lobster base added. I’m not saying that this streamlined bisque is bad, it’s just that if you’ve ever had the chance to try the real thing, this “watered-down” version it doesn’t even come close. The version seen here lands somewhere in between – it yields a rich, flavorful soup without the need to add a stockpile of lobster shells. I used fragrant jasmine rice to thicken this bisque, as well as lots of aromatic vegetables, including red peppers that give this soup its vibrant color and sweeter flavor. I also used prepared fish broth, thus cutting the preparation time in half. The bodies and shells from the lobsters, which were used as a garnish, are browned and added to the simmering soup along with the veggies, thus wasting nothing and taking advantage of every ounce of available flavor.
- 3 Lobsters, steamed for 8 minutes and cooled, meat removed, shells reserved and chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted
- 1 Onion, medium-sized, chopped
- 1 tsp. Garlic, minced
- 1 Carrot, peeled, rough chopped
- 1 Red Pepper, de-stemmed & seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 sprigs Thyme, fresh
- 1 cup White Wine
- 1 cup Tomatoes, fresh, ripe, skinned and seeded, diced
- 6 cups Chicken or Fish Stock
- 1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- To Taste: Kosher or Sea Salt
- To Taste: Black Pepper, freshly ground
- 2 Tbsp. Chives, fresh, chopped
- In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, melt the butter and add the reserved lobster shells. Brown the shells for roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrots, peppers and herbs and sweat for 5-8 minutes more, or until the veggies are soft and tender.
- Add the wine and reduce till almost dry.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until broken down and browning slightly.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for roughly 20 minutes more. Strain the liquid, pressing on the solids well, in order to get every drop of flavor from the shells and veggies. Return strained stock to a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is thoroughly tender. Puree the mixture using an immersion blender.
- In a separate saucepan, reduce the heavy cream by 1/3 and add all but a few tablespoons to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Chop, slice or dice reserved lobster meat and gently warm through in a touch of butter. Ladle hot soup into warmed bowls and add lobster meat. Sprinkle with chives and drizzle with reserved cream. Serve at once.