Start to Finish: 90 minutes
Lobster bisque is a luxury food characterized by a deep lobster flavor and velvety texture. The lobster bisque from Red Lobster resembles traditional lobster bisque, but it is thickened with flour rather than rice. The bisque also has chunks of cooked lobster added. This recipe is from Red Lobster, with adaptations from the kitchn.
- 9 cups water
- 3 cups white wine
- 3 cups fish stock
- 4 1/2 pounds lobster, live
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2/3 cup brandy
- 2/3 cup sherry
- 2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Heat the water, white wine and stock in a large stockpot on high heat. Bring to a rolling boil.
Put the lobsters, head first, into the pot. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the lobsters with metal tongs, and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Transfer the lobster from the pot to a bowl in the fridge or freezer. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shell.
Place the lobster shell back in the pot, and bring the stock back to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, cut the lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces.
Strain the stock to remove all pieces of shell and set aside. Add the melted butter, the onions, the carrots, the celery and the garlic to the pot, and heat on medium. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the brandy and sherry and cook for 5 minutes, until you can no longer smell the alcohol.
Mix the flour and 1/4 cup of the cooled stock in a small bowl blending the flour and stock to a make a milky white liquid, known as a slurry. Slurries reduce the chances of clumps forming when adding starches -- such as flour -- to a hot liquid.
Pour the slurry into the pot and stir to incorporate. Cook until the mix in the pot is a pale brown color and smells strongly of butter.
Add the paprika, thyme, pepper, tomatoes and broth. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
It is important to stir often at this stage, as the thickness of the bisque at this time means it is at risk of burning.
Puree the bisque with an immersion blender, until the bisque is very smooth.
Stir in the chopped lobster meat and cream. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, until the soup is very hot and the lobster meat is warmed through.
Do not bring the soup to a boil, as this may cause the cream to boil. It can also lead to overcooked lobster meat.
Thin your soup with water to taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve in warmed soup bowls with ground black pepper on top.
To have a bisque that is more traditionally textured, include the lobster meat in the bisque before pureeing. This will make the soup much thicker, so add 1 cup milk to the soup before blending.
To make the soup spicier, add 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
For a smoked bisque version, replace the sweet paprika with smoked paprika. To make up for the reduced sweetness, add 1 teaspoon white sugar to the bisque.
Replace the thyme with chopped, fresh tarragon for a fresher tasting bisque. The black pepper can also be replaced with ground white pepper.
For a very elegant dish, garnish each serving of bisque with a dollop of sour cream, or for something truly decadent, a spoonful of creme fraiche, which is richer tasting and thicker than sour cream. For a final flourish, add a 1 teaspoon drizzle of truffle oil.