I make this every time we get live lobsters, which is only a few times a year. Over the years I have tweaked this. I always have to buy an extra lobster or two tails to add some meat to the soup. It is the best soup I have ever tasted. While it is rich, a single bowl and some bread make a fine supper with champagne.
- 3 1- 2 pound live lobsters
For the stock:
- Lobster shells
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 carrots
- 2 cups of lobster cooking water
- Water to cover shells
For the Bisque
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, large dice (I use a sweet onion like Vidalia)
- 1 large celery stalk, rough chopped
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 20 grape tomatoes (or one large tomato rough chopped)
- 2 tablespoons dried tarragon
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-10 whole peppercorns
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup dry Sherry (plus more for serving)
- 4 cups lobster stock
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Lobster Stock (about 4 cups)
- Chives and fresh black pepper for serving
To make stock:
- Bring large pot of water to boil.
- Add 1/4 sea salt.
- Add lobsters head first and boil until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer lobsters to large bowl.
- Reserve 2 cups cooking liquid. Cool lobsters
- Working over large bowl to catch juices, cut off lobster tails and claws. Crack tail and claw shells and remove lobster meat. Coarsely chop lobster meat; cover and chill. Coarsely chop lobster shells and bodies; transfer to medium bowl. Reserve juices from lobster in large bowl.Or you can serve the lobsters and save the shells, reserving extra meat for the bisque.
- In a clean pot add shells, onion, carrot and reserved cooking liquid. Add enough water to cover the shells with an additional 2″ of water.
- Cook low and slow for several hours (I have a simmer burner and let it simmer over night), until the stock has reduced to the level of the shells. Strain over a large pot.
- You can cool and save this in the freezer or refrigerator or use straight away.
- Discard solids
- Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over high heat.
- Add onion and next 8 ingredients. Boil until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. *Note, if you are using tails for the meat, put them in with veggies and cook till meat is white, about 4 minutes Use one tail per serving.
- Add lobster stock
- Simmer 1 hour.
- Remove bay leaves
- Use a stick blender to puree
- Strain soup through sieve set over a pot, pressing firmly on solids. Whisk tomato paste into soup. Add sherry and cognac.
- Simmer until soup is reduced to 3 cups, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate at this point)
- Add cream to soup and simmer 5 minutes.
- Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water.
- Add to soup and boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with a pile of lobster meat, some fresh chives, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of sherry.