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Lobster Bisque and other Wintry Seafood Stews

Posted by Peggy on December 30, 2013

Recipe: Lobster Bisque

Ingredients

  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 7 (1 1/4 pound) live lobsters
  • 8 small shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) of butter, divided
  • 1 cup sherry, Amontillado preferred
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 quart half and half
  • Tabasco, optional

Instructions

  1. Fill half to three-quarters of your largest pot with water. Add bay leaves and lemon and bring to a rapid boil. Boil the lobsters, in batches if necessary, about 6 minutes, or until they are bright red but not cooked all the way through. Save cooking liquid and set aside.
  2. When lobsters are cool enough to handle, de-shell the meat over a large bowl so you are catching all the juices that come out of cracking them. Reserve drippings and shells; this is most important. If there are any roe sacks present (they are DARK GREEEN, not the pale green goo called the "tomalley"), set aside for later. The roe might appear slightly pink around the edges if it has been exposed to heat, but it is mostly very dark green. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  3. To make a stock, in your largest sauté pan, heat half of butter over medium heat and sauté shallots. When translucent, add as many of the large pieces of reserved lobster shell as will fit in the pan and sauté the shells until brownish on their edges and very fragrant. Add sherry and reserved drippings, thyme, tarragon and the water the lobsters were cooked. Raise heat and reduce for about 15 minutes, checking for flavor; seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Strain the stock with a fine strainer or cheesecloth.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt remaining butter and sauté any reserved roe, breaking it up into very small pieces with your spoon until it is bright red. Add stock to the pot, bring to a nice heat, but do not boil. Take a few ladles of the hot stock and pour over reserved lobster meat, then stir in cream over lobster. (This warms the lobster without shocking it into toughness and prevents the cream from separating.) Combine the lobster/cream mix with the warm stock in the pot and remove from heat. Add Tabasco to taste, if using, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. When reheating, DO NOT BOIL. The cream easily breaks and you will be very sad. You must warm very gently over low, low heat, stirring consistently.

Number of servings (yield): 20, 1-cup servings

Time: (best made one day in advance) about 90 minutes, mostly spent shelling lobster

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