Anolon Academy

Lobster bisque

By Chef Justin North

Ingredients

  • 2 kg lobster heads or large whole prawns
  • 100 ml white wine 
  • 50 ml vegetable oil 
  • 50 ml Cognac, Armagnac or cooking brandy 
  • 150 g butter 
  • 4 sprigs thyme 
  • 2 carrots, cut into large pieces 
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into large pieces
  • 3 litres water 
  • 80 ml cream 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • Squeeze of fresh orange juice 

Method

Rinse the lobster heads well. Use kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces and bash them roughly with a meat mallet to loosen as much meat as you can. This adds flavour to the soup. 

Heat the oil in a heavy-based roasting pan. Add the crushed lobster pieces and sauté until bright pink and lightly caramelised. Add 100g of the butter, the chopped vegetables and garlic. Sauté for another 10 minutes, until everything is aromatic and coloured. Add the tomato paste, stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan, stirring well. Add the Cognac (reserving a splash to finish the soup) and the thyme. 

Add the water and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent the shells sticking and burning.
Strain the soup through a sieve, pushing forcefully with the back of the ladle to extract as much of the juice and pulp as you can. Pass through a finer sieve and return to a clean saucepan over a medium heat. Use a whisk or hand blender to whisk in the remaining butter and the cream. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Serve immediately with an extra splash of Cognac and fresh orange juice, or transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. The butter, cream, Cognac and orange juice should be added just before serving. 

This bisque will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 days or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Makes 2 litres, enough for 4 serves

Prep time. 20 minutes 

Cook time. 40 minutes