This creamy lobster bisque recipe has chunks of sweet lobster meat in a beautifully seasoned broth made from the strained liquid of sautéed lobster shells, vegetables and herbs. Cream and sherry are added and the flavors are incredible. A fantastic, rich soup to serve on those special occasions. Hello New Years Eve Party 🙂
If you’ve been looking for THE lobster bisque recipe, look no further! This is adapted from James Sakatos, the Carlyle’s executive chef.
How do you make a lobster 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.
Is this creamy lobster bisque restaurant quality? Yes. Delicious and rich? Yes. This creamy lobster bisque is definitely for those special occasions and worth the time it takes to make it, too.
For that 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. 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 heated the air expands and gets 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 slowly goes 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!
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.
The secret in my lobster bisque recipe for that creamy consistency is that I don’t make it any fatter with a roux, butter-based sauce, but with using rice!
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.
Serve this creamy lobster bisque with toasted bread or a side salad for a complete meal.
Creamy 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.