Lobster Bisque

With the holidays coming up (Thanksgiving and Christmas, closely followed by New Years) I've been thumbing through my old 'holiday' recipe collection with my handwritten 3x5 note cards I've saved of my 'must make' over the years. Each year I try new recipes for a couple things, but when it's a winner, I save it in a special book.

This recipe is one I copied into my files about 2 years ago. It's not 'my' lobster bisque recipe but it looked promising enough that at the time I made sure to add it to my collection to try. Admittedly, when I find one 'better' than I've been making in the past I always upgrade! I've not tried this one yet though... it has wine and brandy in it - which I don't use in my original lobster bisque recipe. I also have to cheat and use lobster meat that someone else has already cleaned, as I live about as far from the sea as you can... and if I was to purchase 2 whole, live lobsters, I'm afraid I would cry to have to spend that dearly to add it to a soup. I don't buy live lobsters where we live... although I might if we are ever lucky enough to live closer to the ocean.

So - here is one from my collection - not tried and true. But it looked so good I knew I could improvise and give it a go!

Lobster Bisque
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, divided
  • 2 (1 1/4-pound) whole Maine lobsters
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb, divided
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped peeled baking potato
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Combine 3 cups water, clam juice, and 1/2 cup wine in an 8-quart stockpot; bring to a boil. Add lobsters; cover and cook 10 minutes or until bright red. Remove lobsters from pan, reserving liquid in pan. Cool lobsters. Remove meat from tail and claws. Discard any roe or tomalley. Chop meat; chill until ready to use. Place lobster shells in pan. Add remaining 2 cups water, 1 cup carrot, 1 cup celery, 1 cup onion, 1/2 cup fennel, broth, tarragon, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 hours. Drain through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat; add remaining 1/2 cup carrot, remaining 1/2 cup celery, remaining 1/2 cup onion, remaining 1/2 cup fennel, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle flour over carrot mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved cooking liquid and potato; cook 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Place one-third of mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in lobster, milk, cream, and brandy; cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Garnish if desired.

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