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Dec 14, 2007 06:40 AM

Lobster Bisque Dilemma

T this year for Christmas Dinner I thought I'd add lobster bisque to my menu. I've been looking at recipes from my most trusted sources, and I'm beginning to think I won't tackle it this year, as I've already ordered a significant amount of lobster to have with the main course, and the additional whole lobsters required for good stock is just going to be more than I want to spend.

Does anyone have a good recipe that might involve a cheaper version of stock, or a good mail order that they've tried and trusted?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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  1. Doesn't bisque require only the shell? Unless you're planning to serve your lobsters shell on, I think you can do both. Just partially cook the lobster via steaming and then remove the shell and boil that with whatever to create the lobster stock and then you have the lobster flesh to do what you want. I really think that serving actual lobster meat in the bisque is entirely optional. Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: digkv

      just a point. If you're going to make stock from the shells, make sure that you brown them first. do it in a good sized heavy skillet(!2") and sautee over higgh heat in a tbsp of olive oil till they start to brown and carefully add about 3/4 c. brandy stir and flame off the alcohol. then use the shells with the remaining liquid for a much richer stock. this works with prawns and shrimp shells as well

    2. You can ask your fish monger if he has any frozen heads/shells. Often fish stores will cook lobsters and keep the heads frozen. There is allot of meat in the head (the only part my DW eats - I get her tail and claws- god, I love that women) that you can pick out. Let me know if you want my wife's exact recipe which is a little time consuming but divine.

      19 Replies
      1. re: tbear

        Actually, I did call to see if I could locate just shells and no, no one had any. I don't want to remove the meat from the lobster I'm making for dinner, as it is all part of the presentation. They'll be great for bisque the next day though.

        1. re: kkak97

          You know, that really is your answer. Collect all the heads and left-over meat from your main course and make soup the next day. When we have "Lobster on the Rocks" my DW goes around w/ a bag and collects all the heads to make bisque. She really thinks it is somehow disrespectful to the lobster if you don't utilize all the meat/flavor.

          Also, I was thinking earlier that lobster bisque before a lobster dinner is almost too much of a good thing. I know whole menus are based on one item but lobster is extremely rich, with a flavor that can almost become... monotonous.

          Final thought. Left over lobster bisque, reduced thick, makes a perfect base for lobster souffle. I know "souffle" sounds complicated, intimidating etc. to many, but really it is pretty easy and always impresses. If it doesn't rise all the way you just call it a lobster pudding! Pour in a more creamy bisque from a sauce pot at the table.

          1. re: tbear

            No, I'm not the least bit intimidated by souffle. I think that is a great idea!
            Thank you very much!

            1. re: tbear

              After thinking about this post, I decided I'd make a cheese souffle for dinner last night. I had the souffle, (which was absolutley perfect), a nice salad, a loaf of French batard, and a very nice French Burgundy. It had been some time since I made a souffle and it really made for a fun dinner.

              Thanks again for the post. Now I can't wait to try the lobster souffle.

              1. re: kkak97

                Souffle, salad, bread and wine... a perfect meal. I'm jealous.

                1. re: kkak97

                  i took a souffle class a few years ago, and the lobster souffle was divine.

            2. re: tbear

              do you think meats in head or body affect significantly to the the stock of the bisque?

              1. re: hae young

                roasted shells impart plenty of flavor and allow you to leave the meat for something more important.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  so evn though people do not use the body or head for stock, do you think it is still good enough without adding it? i thought the body or head have really something special about contributing it become richer and more crustacianly when making soups by that.
                  i thought when only making the risotto from lobster , the lighter stock out of rest of the shells is good but not the type of soup such as chowder or bisque.

                  1. re: hae young

                    i'm confused by your question. yes, you use the "body" and the "head", but after you've cleaned the meat out for another purpose.

                    steam, boil or poach the lobsters and separate the shells. this includes the heads and the bodies. nothing really in the head to eat anyway. roast all the hard bits, but keep the meat for something else. the lobster meat is sweet and delicate and the flavor and texture will be utterly destroyed by long cooking.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Yes take the tale, claws and knuckles out and use them for something else - like dipped in drawn butter!!

                      But the left-over heads have a rich, fatty meat in them that can be picked out and added to a lobster stock/bisque, and blended in w/out toughening. I only know this from DW who does not use a roux, does not puree the shells and and still comes up with a perfect consistency and unf'nbeliveable flavor. Granted, this means getting elbow deep in lobster heads - which is why her bisque is better than mine...patience and persistence...not a morsel wasted. Perhaps its because she is old world.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          That kind of was my point. MANY people cheat and use a roux. Ground shells, IMO, can add a nutty/bitter (unpleasant) flavor. DW's bisque is the absolute essence of the lobster, thickened w/ cream and the head meat/gelatin (ever noticed the gelatin in the head?) and cream.

                          1. re: tbear

                            The gelatin is a special treat for the chef in the kitchen - I am too selfish to serve it to guests !!

                            Seriously, though, I have never thought of using the gelatin in the bisque. I chop up the shells without grinding them, and my bisque turns out great.

                            One thing I love to use in bisque is a few lobster eggs for the colour, taste, and crunch.

                            1. re: souschef

                              i did know there was something called gelatins in it. i think while boiling the heads and body , they are probably released to my the bisque stock.
                              BTW, adding roux into the bisque make the bisque bitter?

                              1. re: hae young

                                unless the roux is burnt, it shouldn't be bitter.

                                bisque is a stock and cream reduction. no flour. period.

                            2. re: tbear

                              i'm with your w. and also don't grind the shells. yeah, that head goop rocks, doesn't it?

                              i also love the tomalley and do not have mercury poisoning, lol.

                              1. re: tbear

                                do you think if i add a cup or cups of spanish brandy, instead of those of sherry wine type, into the already finished the lobster stock, it will make better lobster bisque?

                                1. re: hae young

                                  i prefer the nutty flavor of sherry in a lobster or shrimp bisque. it also needs cooking time to cook off the alcohol esters and soften the flavor, so don't wait til the very end to add it.

                2. Could you use a light shrimp stock? I always save all my shrimp shells and turn them into stock for paella. It doesn't take that many.

                  And shells are different than heads. I would call again and see if they might be willing to hold the heads for you. They may not keep them around because of space considerations......

                  1. Anyone have a go-to recipe/guidelines for their favorite lobster bisque at home?