This lobster bisque recipe features sweet lobster meat in homemade broth made from lobster shells. It’s a decadent, special occasion meal! Hello New Years Eve Party. 🙂
What is bisque?
A bisque is a smooth, creamy soup with origins from France, typically made using a strained broth of crustaceans like lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish.
Although tradition (and old-school chefs) insist that it only warrants the name if it includes seafood, there are other types of bisque. Tomato is one of the more popular versions.
Fresh Lobster Bisque Recipe
This is a restaurant quality recipe adapted from James Sakatos, the former executive chef at Carlyle’s restaurant in NYC! Deliciously rich, the dish is definitely indulgent, for special occasions, and worth the time it takes to make it, too.
For an incredible, nuanced-flavored soup you need to start with fresh lobster.
Yes! Don’t be afraid, these guys come with strong rubber bands to hold those claws together. You’re safe. 🙂
I prefer steaming over boiling lobsters as the reserved liquid needed isn’t so diluted.
Do live lobsters really scream when you boil them??
As for that old wives tale about lobsters screaming as they hit their hot water demise… Lobsters can’t “scream” because lobsters don’t have lungs!
The noise heard is caused by air trapped in the shell. When the air heats up and expands, it is forced out through small gaps, causing the sound. So you can now rest easy!
Also, if you want to kill the lobster humanely, you can always freeze it for 15 minutes and it will slowly go to sleep. Forever. Then bring it out and rest until thawed before you steam or boil it. I just prefer to steam it live, but leave it up to you.
Just look at these bad boys fresh from their hot water sauna!
How to make lobster soup broth
After the lobster is steamed, the meat removed, set aside and the shells broken down, the shells go into the soup pot filled with sautéed carrots, celery and onion.
Sherry and clam juice are poured over all and herbs like tarragon and thyme are added, too.
Tomato paste is stirred in and a low and slow hour long simmer is needed to develop the flavors.
The resulting lobster soup broth is strained and the lobster shells tossed. They did their job, thanks for coming.
For this seafood bisque recipe, the secret for a creamy consistency is that I use RICE instead of thickening it with a roux or butter-based sauce!
Rice is added and steamed for 30 minutes and then the entire mixture is blended in a food processor or blender until smooth. Cream is added and then the delicious, succulent lobster chunks go in.
What to serve with lobster bisque
I like to serve any type of bisque with toasted bread, potato rolls, or a side salad for a complete meal.
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking December 2018 and content has been updated.
Fresh Lobster Bisque Recipe
- 2 live lobsters (See Note 1)
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot chopped
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (See Note 2)
- 1 1/2 cups sherry
- 3 cups clam broth (See Note 3)
- 1/2 cup white rice (See Note 4)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Steam lobsters in an 8 to 10 quart stockpot. Bring 2 inches of water and salt to a boil over high heat. Using metal tongs or gloves, place the lobsters head first into the pot and cover tightly. When water returns to a heavy boil, turn the heat down to a rolling boil and steam lobsters for 9 minutes for the first pound, and add 4 minutes for each additional pound. Steamed lobsters will be bright red when done. Remove with metal tongs or gloves and place in cool water or let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing meat from shell. Reserve the steaming liquid.
- Twist lobster claws and tails off. Using the side of a kitchen knife or nutcracker, crack the knuckles and claws and take meat out, reserving any liquid that comes out of the shells and on cutting board. Set the tail on a hard surface and use your hand to press down and crack the shell. Remove the tail meat and slice in half lengthwise, removing the black intestinal vein. Coarsely chop the meat and refrigerate. Roughly chop the shells along with all the lobster remains into small pieces and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and herbs. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the lobster shells, liquid and remains and cook for 6 minutes more. Add tomato paste and cayenne pepper and cook 4 minutes.
- Add the sherry (ignite or cook for alcohol to evaporate). Add clam juice and 1 cup of reserved lobster-steaming liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook covered, for 1 hour. Strain the broth through a colander/sieve, pressing down hard on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
- Wipe out the pot and pour in the broth. Add the rice, bring to a boil, cover and cook on low for at least 30 minutes, or until the grains are cooked and VERY soft. Blend the bisque in a blender or food processor, then pass through sieve again, pressing down hard on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add cream and bring to a low simmer. Add the chopped lobster meat and heat through. Season to taste with salt and serve.
- 2 live lobsters should be about 3 pounds total depending on size.
- Feel free to substitute white pepper if desired.
- Substitute fish stock if available.
- I use long grain white rice, do not use any type of converted rice as the consistency will not be smooth.
- Adapted from a recipe by James Sakatos.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.