Lobster bisque

    1 hour 25 min

    This recipe makes the most of a lobster – it even uses the shell – so it is a good way to stretch a luxury ingredient. The soup tastes very rich but only uses a small amount of cream – the creamy smooth texture comes from the rice. Serve as a special first course, with slices of warm ciabatta or other bread.

    50 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 small cooked lobster, about 400 g (14 oz)
    • 30 g (1 oz) butter
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 1 leek, finely chopped
    • 1 carrot, finely chopped
    • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
    • 90 ml (3 fl oz) dry white wine or dry vermouth
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 50 g (1¾) long-grain rice
    • 250 g (8½ oz) plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
    • 2 tbsp single cream
    • few drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
    • salt and pepper
    • 1½ tbsp snipped fresh chives to garnish

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr25min 

    1. Pull and twist off the lobster claws and set aside. With a sharp knife cut the body in half lengthways, from tail end through the head. Scoop out the creamy greenish-grey liver (tomalley) and, if it is a female lobster, the red-orange coral or roe. Reserve these together, covered and chilled. Remove the lobster meat from the claws and body/tail shell. Discard all the inedible parts. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Chop the shell into large pieces.
    2. Melt 15 g (½ oz) of the butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the pieces of lobster shell and sauté until brown bits begin to stick on the bottom of the pan. Add about one-third of the onion, leek, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble for 1 minute. Pour in 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) water, add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the lobster stock through a fine sieve, discarding the shell and vegetables, and spoon off any fat.
    3. Melt the remaining 15 g (½ oz) butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the remaining onion, leek, carrot and celery. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and just starting to colour. Stir in the rice. Add the tomatoes and lobster stock and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover again and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are very tender.
    4. Add the tomalley to the soup with any coral, pressing them through a sieve if any pieces of lobster shell are evident. Purée the soup with a hand blender, or in a food processor or blender, until very smooth.
    5. Return the soup to the saucepan if necessary and set over a moderately low heat. Add the lemon juice and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, add the reserved lobster meat and garnish with the chives.

    Some more ideas

    For a hearty chowder-like soup to serve 6, in step 5 add 2 courgettes, finely diced, 225 g (8 oz) frozen sweetcorn kernels, 1 large potato, peeled and finely diced, and 3 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced, with the lemon juice. Simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. * If no lobster shell is available to make the stock, you can use 1 litre (1¾ pints) fish stock, preferably home-made, instead. To give the bisque extra flavour and colour, steep a pinch of saffron threads in 4 tbsp hot water for 10 minutes, and add with the fish stock and tomatoes in step 3.

    Plus points

    Plain boiled lobster is healthily low in saturated fat. It is the addition of large amounts of high-fat foods such as butter, cream and mayonnaise that makes many classic lobster dishes so rich.

    Each serving provides

    B1, B6, niacin * A, C, copper, selenium * B12, E, folate, iron, potassium, zinc

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