Classic Lobster Bisque - Chef Charles Knight©
This is a huge favorite around our house, but it does take some time and effort to prepare. So, when you have a free afternoon, take the time and you will thoroughly enjoy the results. This is an excellent way make two lobsters serve a crowd.
Adapted for an induction range. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE BEGINNING.
EQUIPMENT: Butcher knife, measuring cups and spoons, French chef’s knife, cutting board, 13-inch French skillet, large serving spoon, lighter stick or long match, food processor, fine sieve strainer, 5-quart soup pot, 11-inch gourmet skillet
PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes – Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 (1 to 1½-pound) live Maine lobsters
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- ¼ cup tomato puree, or 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ cup Sauterne or Chardonnay wine
- ½ cup brandy or Cognac
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups homemade fish stock, clam juice or chicken stock (page 217 Healthy Meat and Potatoes) or packaged
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
- ½ cup dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
To kill the lobsters, dip their heads into boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes.
With a butcher knife, split the lobster in half from head to tail and remove the sack at the top of the head. Under cold running water, clean the carcass and separate the claws, legs, and tail from the body. Set aside.
In the French Skillet over medium heat 325°F dry sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, until reddish-brown in color.
Slowly stir in the wine. Place the claws, tail, legs and body, meat side down, on top of the vegetable mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low 210°F, cover the pan and close the vent. Simmer until the shells turn red and meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high 375°F. When the mixture begins to boil, pour in the brandy or cognac, and ignite with the long match or lighter stick. CAUTION: Be careful to keep your face away from the flames because they will temporarily flare up. Using a long serving spoon, stir until the flames are extinguished. Stir in the thyme and bay leaves and simmer until reduced by one-half. Reduce the heat to medium-low 210°F, remove the lobster parts to a cutting board. Stir in the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Retain the soft-shell pieces, legs, and underbelly, and discard the hard-shell pieces. (Hard shell is any part that does not easily give when squeezed between your forefinger and thumb.) Place the soft-shell parts and the lobster stock in a blender or food processor and puree on medium speed. (You may need to do this in stages depending on the capacity and power of your blender or food processor.) Set aside.
Melt the butter in the 5-quart stockpot over medium heat 275°F. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until a light golden color. Strain the stock through a fine strainer into the soup pot. Stir in the half-and-half and reduce the heat to medium-low 210°F cover open the vent, and simmer until desired thickness. Do not boil.
When the lobster parts have cooled sufficiently to handle, chop the lobster meat into bite-size pieces. In a hot 300°F, 11-inch frypan wet sauté the lobster with sherry wine and paprika for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
To serve, ladle the bisque into individual soup bowls. Using a tablespoon, top bisque with chopped lobster meat and sherry.