Gourmet Soups, Stews, & Bisques
8-10 as a first course
Try your hand at making this extraordinary soup. Rich and creamy, with complex layers of flavor and plentiful chunks of fresh lobster, it's worth every ounce of effort required. Serve it in elegant small portions as a first course, or increase the portions a bit and serve it as a stunning main dish.
2 fresh lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each), steamed and split
3 tablespoons Madeira wine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
6 tablespoons brandy
1 1/2 ounces Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold® dissolved in 4 cups hot water
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3 cups half and half
2 ripe plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Remove the meat from the lobster shells, reserving the shells, and cut the meat into a ½-inch dice. Place the meat in a small bowl and toss with Madeira; cover and set aside. Coarsely crush the lobster shells and set aside.
Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, onions, and shallots, and cook until the onions soften but do not brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the lobster shells, parsley, and tarragon. Toss well and cook about 5 minutes. Pour 4 tablespoons of the brandy over the lobster shells and carefully ignite. When the flame goes out, add 1 cup of the dissolved Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold® and the white wine. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate saucepan, bring the milk and half and half to a simmer, and keep simmering over low heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in another saucepan. Add the flour to make a roux, and blend with a whisk over low heat 1 minute. Add the milk/half and half mixture all at once to the roux, and whisk constantly over low heat for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Add this to the reserved lobster shell and broth mixture.
Stir in the tomatoes and cayenne and simmer, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the remaining seafood stock, and additional stock as needed to bring the soup to the desired consistency. (Reserve the remaining stock for another use.) Cover the pan and simmer for another 45 minutes. Season with to taste with salt.
Pour the soup through a fine strainer, pressing down with the back of a spoon on the shells and vegetables to extract flavor. Return the bisque to the pan and heat through. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons brandy and the reserved lobster meat. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing: a buttery California Chardonnay or a full-bodied white Burgundy.