Lobster Bisque


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Lobster Bisque

© Paden Reich

Lobster bisque is one of those items on the menu that I love but can’t bring myself to order, and yet I will instead nudge Tom to get it and then proceed to consume at least half his portion. Over the years, we’ve tasted different versions across the country, and I sought to combine the best elements in mine, starting with the strong suggestion of dry sherry (or very dry white wine). But that’s getting ahead of myself. I need to tell you at the outset that all the reducing and simmering required here is worth the end result. The lobster stock can be made several days in advance, but I prefer to make mine the same day, all at once in fact, as it fills the kitchen with a rich, lobstery aroma that promises something fabulous, and then indeed delivers abundant flavor. Imagine: Cream. Butter. Lobster. Sherry. This is rich enough to serve as a full meal along with French bread and white wine. The rich, flavor-forward bisque will transport you up the New England coast.


1. Twist off the claws and tails from the lobsters. Remove the meat, discarding the green tomalley and reserving the shells. Coarsely chop the meat to measure about 2 1/2 cups, and transfer to a bowl; cover and chill.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium. Add the lobster shells, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sherry, and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, 4 cups of the water, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard the solids. Return the stock to the Dutch oven.

3. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms, cayenne pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the stock; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Process the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the milk, cream, wine, and the lobster meat; bring to a simmer over medium. Stir together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; add to the soup mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Garnish the servings with the chives.

Cooking Tip

You can ask your local seafood market to steam the lobster for you to save yourself some time and hassle. You can make the lobster stock up to 3 days in advance.


2 (2-pound) lobsters, steamed 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped button mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

serving size

6 People

Hands on time

45 Minutes

Total time

1 Hour, 5 Minutes



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