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    Chef’s Lobster Bisque Recipe

    Published February 3, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This incredible lobster bisque recipe made from live fresh lobsters is perfectly rich and creamy, making it a fantastic soup to showcase for friends and family. You will love the amazing flavor of this homemade classic.

    We are a soup family, and we eat it all year long. If you are just like us, you must check out how to make Tortilla soup or my Corn Chowder.

    bowl of lobster bisque


     

    Lobster Bisque

    Lobster bisque, like any bisque, is a thick, rich, creamy soup consisting of pureed vegetables and seafood or a thickened seafood stock that is then finished with cream. You may also see a garnish of cooked seafood, chives, and crème fraiche. The consistency should be nappe, which can easily coat the back side of the spoon and be completely smooth.

    Since lobster bisque is considered an elegant soup, you will commonly see it featured on menus in higher-end restaurants worldwide. Sometimes the bisque may use additional shellfish like shrimp or crab. Lobster bisque is not a cheap soup, so if it’s not in the budget, I recommend making my shrimp bisque recipe.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    ingredients to make lobster bisque
    • Lobster – I am using 2 live lobsters. However, you can use frozen, thawed whole lobsters.
    • Stock – Chicken stock will take this recipe to the next level, but you can use water.
    • Cream – You will need some heavy whipping cream at the end to monte the lobster stock. 
    • Wine – This is optional, but I use port wine and dry vermouth.
    • Liquor – I deglaze and finish the bisque with Brandy. Another option would be dry or cream sherry.
    • Mirepoix – You will need white, yellow, or sweet onions, and carrots, and celery.
    • Tomato – A fresh tomato will help add color and flavor to this soup.
    • Tomato Paste – You will need tomato paste to add flavor, color, richness, and body to the bisque.
    • Herbs – I like to add fresh basil to the stock, but you can substitute with fresh tarragon or thyme
    • Garlic – A few cloves go a long way to enhancing this flavor.

    How to Make Lobster Bisque from Scratch

    Start off this recipe by preparing the vegetables.

    prepping carrots

    Next, if you’re using live lobsters, you must cut them in half. Place the tip of your knife about 3” down from the head of the lobster where there is a T.

    placing a chef knife on a lobster

    Press down through the head with the tip of the knife, then roll the knife down to the cutting board.

    slicing through a lobster head

    Turn the lobster around and do the same thing slicing through the tail completely.

    slicing through a lobster tail

    Remove the tomalley, stomach, and intestinal tract.

    removing the stomach and tomalley of a lobster

    Rinse the inside of the lobsters.

    rinsing a live lobster

    Remove the tail meat by pressing down on the tail where the legs are pulling the meat up. You may also need to slice where the tail meets the lobster body to help loosen the meat. Set them aside in the refrigerator.

    removing tail meat from a lobster

    Next, optionally remove the claw and knuckle meat by breaking the claws using the backside of your chef knife. Set them aside in the refrigerator.

    removing claw meat from a lobster

    Add the olive oil to a pan over medium-low heat and caramelize the garlic cloves, which takes about 2 minutes.

    sautéing garlic cloves in a pan

    Next, place in the lobsters and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until they turn bright red.  

    cooking lobster bodies in a pan

    Stir in the vegetables and saute until lightly caramelized, which takes 10 to 12 minutes.

    cooking vegetables with lobsters

    Add in the tomato paste and stir until everything is coated.

    adding tomato paste to a pot with lobsters

    Pince the tomato paste until it becomes a rusty color. This takes about 3 to 4 minutes.

    cooking tomato paste until pince

    Deglaze with the 1 cup of brandy and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half. It may also just suck right into the ingredients in the pot. If it does that, immediately go to the next procedures.

    adding brand to a pot

    Pour in the Vermouth and cook down until the liquid is reduced by one-half.

    adding vermouth to a pot of lobsters

    Add the Port wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half.

    cooking down port wine in a pot of lobsters

    Pour in the chicken stock and the tomato and basil leaves. Simmer at low to medium heat for 45 minutes.

    adding tomatoes and basil to a lobster stock

    Strain the lobster stock through a fine mesh strainer, chinois, or cheesecloth.

    straining a lobster stock

    Return the stock back to the pot and cook over high heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by 1/3.

    thickening a lobster stock

    Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the heavy whipping cream.

    creaming a lobster stock

    Thicken the bisque with slurry or beurre manié until thick.

    Season with sea salt and ground white pepper.

    seasoning a lobster bisque

    Mix in a ¼ cup of brandy.

    adding brandy to lobster bisque

    Serve with optional butter-poached lobster, cooked claw meat, crème fraiche, and chopped fresh chives.

    garnishing a lobster bisque

    Lobster Meat as Garnish

    You can also keep the tails, claws, and knuckles intact and add them to the lobster stock for 15 minutes before it is simmering to “cook” the meat. If you go that route, wait for them to cool slightly, then break them, remove the meat, and roughly chop them to use as garnish.

    What Happens If My Bisque Separates?

    It’s common for bisques to break because they’re so delicate. If it does break, you can rethicken using a roux or slurry. Here what’s you will need to do.

    1. Add the soup to a medium-sized pot if it’s not already in one, and turn the heat up to medium-low or until it is simmering and right before boiling.
    2. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of beurre manié or 2 to 3 tablespoons of slurry and continue to whisk until it becomes thick.
    3. If it’s not thick at this point, repeat the previous step.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this bisque up to 1 day ahead of time. Follow the reheating instructions below.

    How to Store: You can store this covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. This will also freeze covered for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving. 

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of bisque soup to a medium-sized saucepot and cook over medium-high heat until simmering and right before boiling.. You will most likely need to rethicken the bisque as it will most likely have broken. Make a slurry combining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water and then whisk it into the bisque. Heat activates the slurry, so you may need to turn the heat up slightly before whisking it in. Adjust the seasonings with salt and ground white pepper, and serve.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • If whole lobsters are not an option, you can substitute 2 whole lobsters for eight 4–6-ounce lobster tails.
    • Any port wine will work in this recipe.
    • If you notice the lobster bodies aren’t sauteing, you may need to add 2 to 3 more tablespoons of olive oil.
    • You do not need to use all three brandy, vermouth, and port. You can use 1 cup of brandy instead.
    • It is wise to strain the bisque two times to make sure.
    • Pince means to brown tomato paste in fat.
    • When using live lobsters, you can place them in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing them to knock them out a little bit.
    • One of its unique attributes is that it is naturally salty, so be sure to taste it before seasoning it.

    More Soup Recipes

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    Chef’s Lobster Bisque Recipe

    5 from 9 votes
    This incredible lobster bisque recipe made from fresh lobsters is rich and creamy, making it a fantastic soup for friends and family.
    Servings: 8
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 2 2 pound lobsters
    • 1 large peeled and medium-diced onion
    • 1 large peeled and medium-diced carrot
    • 1 medium-diced celery
    • 1/4 fennel, core removed
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1 Roma tomato cut into quarters
    • 2 large fresh basil leaves
    • 1 1/4 cups Brandy
    • 1 cup dry Vermouth
    • 1 cup port wine
    • 12 cups chicken stock or water
    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 recipe for slurry
    • sea salt and ground white pepper for garnish
    • crème fraiche for garnish
    • optional cooked lobster meat for garnish
    • thinly sliced fresh chives for garnish

    Instructions

    • If you’re using live lobsters, you will need to cut them in half. Place the tip of your knife about 3” down from the head of the lobster where there is a T. Press down through the head with the tip of the knife, then roll the knife down to the cutting board.
    • Turn the lobster around and do the same thing slicing through the tail completely.
    • Remove the tomalley, stomach, and intestinal tract. Rinse the inside of the lobsters.
    • Remove the tail meat by pressing down on the tail where the legs are pulling the meat up. You may also need to slice where the tail meets the lobster body to help loosen the meat. Set them aside in the refrigerator. Next, optionally remove the claw and knuckle meat by breaking the claws using the backside of your chef knife. Set them aside in the refrigerator.
    • Add the olive oil to a pan over medium-low heat and caramelize the garlic cloves slightly, which takes about 2 minutes.
    • Next, place in the lobsters and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until they turn bright red.
    • Stir in the vegetables and saute until lightly caramelized, which takes 10 to 12 minutes.
    • Add in the tomato paste and stir until everything is coated. Pince the tomato paste until it becomes a rusty color. This takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Deglaze with the 1 cup of brandy and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half. It may also just suck right into the ingredients in the pot. If it does that, immediately go to the next procedures.
    • Pour in the Vermouth and cook down until the liquid is reduced by one-half. Add the Port wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half.
    • Pour in the chicken stock and the tomato and basil leaves.
    • Simmer at low to medium heat for 45 minutes.
    • Strain the lobster stock through a fine mesh strainer, chinois, or cheesecloth.
    • Return the stock to the pot and cook over high heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by 1/3.
    • Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the heavy whipping cream.
    • Thicken the bisque with slurry or beurre manié until thick.
    • Season with sea salt and ground white pepper.
    • Mix in a ¼ cup of brandy.
    • Serve with optional butter-poached lobster, or cooked claw meat, and crème fraiche and chopped fresh chives.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this bisque up to 1 day ahead of time. Follow the reheating instructions below.
    How to Store: You can store this covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. This will also freeze covered for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving. 
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of bisque soup to a medium-sized saucepot and cook over medium-high heat until simmering and right before boiling. You will most likely need to rethicken the bisque as it will most likely have broken. Make a slurry combining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water and then whisk it into the bisque. Heat activates the slurry, so you may need to turn the heat up slightly before whisking it in. Adjust the seasonings with salt and ground white pepper, and serve.
    If whole lobsters are not an option, you can substitute 2 whole lobsters for eight 4–6-ounce lobster tails.
    Any port wine will work in this recipe.
    If you notice the lobster bodies aren’t sauteing, you may need to add 2 to 3 more tablespoons of olive oil.
    You do not need to use all three brandy, vermouth, and port. You can use 1 cup of brandy instead.
    It is wise to strain the bisque two times to make sure.
    Pince means to brown tomato paste in fat.
    When using live lobsters, you can place them in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing them to knock them out a little bit.
    One of its unique attributes is that it is naturally salty, so be sure to taste it before seasoning it.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 604kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 22gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 817mgPotassium: 723mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 2328IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 123mgIron: 1mg
    Course: souo
    Cuisine: French