Hearty, Creamy, Spicy Lobster Bisque.

With the flaky lobster meat, this was fantastico
With the flaky lobster meat, this was fantastico

I am a huge fan of soups, they taste great, can be used with a whole bunch of ingredients and flavors, can be light starters or hearty meals. There’s just so much you can do with soups. Soups can also hit that sweet spot deep inside like no other food; be it a flu or a hangover (probably hangover) there’s no other meal that can quite dig deep and give your insides a hug. While I also love a whole variety of vegetable soups, I feel the king of soups has got to be this behemoth of flavor and the goliath of calories; the lobster bisque! (cue crowd gasping then applauding) A bisque is generally thought of as a spicy and creamy crustacean soup that uses the shells of the animal to extract its flavor. Bisques are usually thickened with rice. What you end up with is a creamy and smooth soup with a deep seafood flavor punctuated with the spiciness of herbs and chilies added. Recipe after the jump.

Serves 4 – 6 as a starter

1 large fresh lobster

1 medium-large onion, diced

1 carrots roughly chopped

1 celery stalk roughly chopped

2 tbsp. of tomato paste

2 tbsp. of butter

1/2 cup of cognac

1 tbsp. of black peppercorns

1 tbsp. of chopped tarragon

1 tsp of crushed dry chilies

2 tbsp. of white rice

1 tsp of paprika

zest of 1 lemon

1 – 1 1/2 cup of cooking cream

Preheat you oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Remove the lobster meat from the shells (if you can get more pieces of shell from your fishmonger, please do, you’ll need the shells of about 1 to 1 1/2 full lobsters, it’s also best to get your fishmonger to extract the meat for you), cut the meat into medium sized chunks and reserve on the side. In a large pot, heat some olive oil, add the butter and melt the butter over a medium heat and once the foam subsides add the vegetables, rice, tomato paste, the shells and the chilies. Cook and toss about the pot until the shells turn red and the vegetables soften. Add the cognac and light it with a match, once the flame subsides, cover the shells and vegetables with water (about 1 1/2 liters). Once the water boils, bring down the flame to a simmer, add the tarragon and peppercorns and allow to simmer over a low heat for about 45min. Allow the liquid to reduce by about 1/3, not much more. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.

While the broth simmers, toss the extracted lobster meat in the lemon zest and some olive oil. place on a baking tray and stick in the oven until cooked (covered) but still tender (about 10-15min). Remove the lobster from the oven once cooked and reserve on the side.

Once the broth is reduced and all the flavors have come together, pick out the lobster shells and remove from the broth. Using either an immersion blender or in a normal blender, blitz the broth with the remaining vegetables into a fine homogeneous liquid. Return the liquid to the pot, and keep over a low heat. Add the cream and mix thoroughly. If the soup is too liquid, allow to reduce on the heat for some time, if it is too thick, add water to adjust the consistency, you want it to be pretty much the same consistency as the cream.

Serve the soup in individual bowls and add the cooked and reserved lobster meat to it. Garnish with chopped chives. Hope you enjoy!

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