Maine Homemade Lobster Bisque Recipe

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homemade lobster bisque

Dive into the creamy, rich, and decadent taste of Maine that comes from the luxurious bite of this lobster bisque recipe. While many think lobster bisque soup is one of those special occasion dishes reserved for a dinner out, this recipe for lobster bisque will easily walk you through the steps so you can create this sumptuous soup at home.

Combining generous chunks of fresh lobster meat with simple ingredients like celery, carrots, and milk, this bisque recipe will turn any night into a celebration. This guide will give you tips on not only how to recreate this seafood classic, but also tips on ingredients, a little background into the origins of lobster bisque, and what makes a good bisque. So, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld let’s dive into soup so good your knees buckle.

What is Lobster Bisque?

Before we get into the claws of this lobster bisque recipe, let’s talk about what is lobster bisque? Perhaps you’ve ordered crab bisque, tomato bisque, or mushroom bisque before, but aside from the creamy element and silky texture, have you ever stopped to think what is bisque?

Bisque is a classic French technique of extracting flavor from imperfect crustaceans such as lobsters, langoustine, crab, and shrimp. Traditionally the shells were ground into a fine powder and used as a thickening agent but now it’s more common to use a roux, a combination of flour and fat such as butter, or rice.

The first lobster bisque recipe can be traced back to 17th century France and was considered a fisherman’s dish, utilizing all aspects of the crustacean and seafood that didn’t make the cut to sell. The bisque soup that we think of today has been around since the 1950’s. As the popularity of bisque grew in the United States, so did the recipes. Instead of grinding the shells, the shells began to be used to build a rich and flavorful broth that was later strained.

The Main Ingredients of Lobster Bisque Recipe

While every lobster bisque recipe is a little different, there are many lobster bisque ingredients that you will see again and again, starting with the lobster itself. Most recipes will utilize whole lobsters. The shells will add even more depth of flavor as the lobsters boil, and then the tail, claw, and knuckle meat can be chopped up and added to the bisque giving it texture and dimension. If you’re lucky enough to get a female lobster the lobster roe also makes a rich and flavorful addition. Here is a list of other bisque main ingredients.

  • Mirepoix – Onion, celery, and carrots build that savory layer of flavor while also enhancing the natural flavors of the lobster.
  • Seafood stock – This can be used to reinforce the stock made with the lobster shells. Clam juice is sometimes also used.
  • Tomato paste – Some recipes will call for a small amount of tomato paste. This can not only enhance the color in bisque recipes, but also amplify the sweetness of the lobster.
  • Cream – This gives the lobster bisque its richness and velvety texture.
  • Brandy/Sherry – This draws out the natural sweetness of the lobster.
  • Nutmeg – Adds an interesting warmth without being overpowering. A little goes a long way. This is a common addition to many recipes calling for milk or cream.
Homemade Lobster Bisque Recipe

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Lobster Bisque

If you’ve ever wondered how to make lobster bisque at home, this easy-to-follow guide will have you feeling like a total rockstar in the kitchen. Any recipe for lobster bisque should be clear, straight forward, and make lobster centerstage.

  • Remove the lobster meat from the shells. Dice up the meat and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Add the lobster shells, celery, carrots, onion, cloves, bay leaf, and peppercorns to a pot along with the chicken stock or clam juice. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for half an hour to 45 minutes.
  • Strain the stock and set aside.
  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter. Allow it to melt before adding the flour. Stir to fully combine. Let the mixture cook for 3-6 minutes until it begins to smell slightly nutty. This allows the raw flour taste to cook out.
  • Slowly pour in the strained lobster stock while continually stirring. Next, one cup at a time slowly pour in the milk while stirring.
  • Let the lobster bisque come to a simmer while stirring often. Allow it to cook until thickened, 10-15 minutes.
  • Next stir in the lobster meat and the nutmeg. Let it cook for a further five minutes.
  • Finally stir in one cup of warm cream, a pinch of cayenne, nutmeg, and the sherry if using and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • To make this lobster bisque recipe easy to serve simply garnish with a little sprinkle of paprika and fresh parsley.

Different Types/Variations of Lobster Bisque

If you are looking for the best lobster bisque recipe you really don’t need to look any further than New England, but different regions and countries will have different variations on this luxurious, creamy, and comforting soup. While you’ll see common ingredients in every lobster bisque recipe, there are also unique twists that you may want to give a try. Here are a few recipe lobster bisque ideas.

  • Give your lobster bisque recipe an extra kick and a taste of Louisiana. Instead of using cayenne pepper use your favorite Cajun seasoning.
  • Sourdough bowls are a popular way to serve clam chowder in San Francisco. This also makes a delicious and memorable way to serve any lobster bisque recipe.
  • Make your lobster bisque a celebration of the sea. You can add even more seafood flavor with the addition of shrimp. Don’t forget to add the shrimp shells to the pot with the lobster shells.
  • Replace the parsley with your favorite herbs such as tarragon, chives, or chervil.

Lobster Bisque Soup – A Comforting Delight

In the words of the Contessa herself Ina Garten, lobster bisque is the ultimate high low dish. It combines a high end luxury ingredient like lobster tails and whole live lobster to create something warming, cozy and comforting. Soup in general is a comfort food many crave, a good lobster bisque takes that comfort to the next level with an air of decadence. You can fully wear your warm fuzzy socks while sipping champagne with a good lobster bisque soup recipe.

Here are some additional ideas on how you can make your lobster bisque soup extra cozy and comforting.

  • Serve your lobster bisque recipe with a side of crusty bread, crostini, or garlic bread.
  • Swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche.
  • Make your lobster bisque the ultimate soup and sandwich duo and serve the lobster bisque soup alongside a lobster grilled cheese. Double dipping is highly encouraged.

Bisque vs. Soup: Understanding the Difference

All lobster bisque recipes are a soup recipe, but not all soups are a bisque. What makes this creamy and decadent soup so special and what is in bisque to set it apart from other soups? Bisque in general and lobster bisque specifically is a highly seasoned soup starting with the way the stock is made. Whether you’re starting your lobster bisque recipe with just water or using seafood or chicken stock, the lobster stock is created almost like a tea, allowing the shells and aromatics to seep and create a rich, complex stock. Love goes into creating that stock before it even makes it to the soup stage.

Bisque vs. Chowder

If the difference between bisque soup and soup starts with the stock, the difference between a lobster bisque recipe and chowder recipe is all in the texture. Where bisque is smooth, creamy, and silky, chowder is creamy but also hearty and chunky. They both have common components like celery, cream, and milk, but chowder recipes such as clam chowder will usually include potatoes and often bacon.

A Collection of Bisque Recipes

Looking for even more bisque recipes? This collection of bisque recipes will inspire you to get into the kitchen and have fun creating this classic dish yourself.

  • NYT’s lobster bisque replaces the roux found in a traditional lobster bisque recipe with rice as the thickener.
  • Tyler Florence’s lobster bisque recipe incorporates the sunny surprise of orange juice and zest for a layer of citrus to enhance the flavor of the lobster.
  • Epicurius uses both sherry and brandy to add depth of flavor. In addition, it also uses cornstarch as the thickening agent making it gluten free.
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Homemade Lobster Bisque

Maine’s Best Homemade Lobster Bisque

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Homemade lobster bisque—you betcha! This lobster bisque recipe takes a little work, but it sure is tasty when it is made from scratch. Be sure not to eat the Maine ingredient—fresh shucked lobster meat.

  • Total Time: 120
  • Yield: 8 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • Meat from 2 medium Maine lobsters. shells reserved
  • 2 1/2 c chicken stock, seafood stock, and/or clam juice
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1/4 c chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks and leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few peppercorns
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 3 c milk
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 c cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup sherry (optional)
  • parsley
  • paprika

Instructions

  1. Take meat from 2 medium Maine lobsters , dice meat and reserve.
  2. Crush shells. Add to them the tough end of the claws, 2 1/2 c chicken stock and/or clam juice, 1 sliced onion, 2 celery stalks and leaves, 1/4 c chopped carrots, 2 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf and a few peppercorns.
  3. Simmer 45 minutes and strain, reserving stock.
  4. If there’s coral roe, save it and mash it with 1/4 c flour.
  5. Pour 3 c heated milk slowly on roe/flour mix and stir until mixture is smooth. If no roe, melt 1/4 c butter and stir in 1/4 c flour and gradually add 3 c heated milk. Heat until thickened.
  6. Add 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Add lobster meat, strained stock and simmer 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 c hot (not boiling) cream. Season with thyme, a touch of cayenne and sherry (optional). Garnish with parsley and paprika.

Notes

Want to learn more about the history of lobster bisque? Find out how lobster bisque came to be with this short history lesson about bisque. Looking for a gluten free option? Check out this rice based recipe.

 
  • Author: Lobster Louie
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 1600
  • Fat: 30

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a vegetarian version of lobster bisque recipe?

No. The stock for this recipe includes lobster and the bisque itself is filled with lobster. However there are vegetarian bisques such as mushroom bisque or tomato bisque.

Is it possible to make a quick lobster bisque recipe for busy weeknights?

While the lobster bisque won’t have as much depth of flavor, you can use storebought seafood stock to make a faster version of lobster bisque soup.

How can I pair wines with my lobster bisque recipe?

Because lobster bisque is a rich dish, pick wines that are lighter and bright in flavor. Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, and chardonnay are all great options. Lobster bisque is also often served as a first course making champagne an excellent choice as well.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when following a lobster bisque recipe?

Not allowing the seafood stock to simmer long enough. You want to extract as much flavor as possible. Also, not allowing the roux to cook long enough. It should smell nutty and just start to become a little blonde. This means the raw flour taste has cooked out.

Can I freeze leftover lobster bisque made from your recipe?

Because of the dairy in this recipe it’s best to eat it within 2-3 days. The texture will become a little grainy if frozen.

How can I incorporate local seafood into my lobster bisque recipe?

Feel free to add any additional local seafood such as shrimp or even fish to this bisque. Seafood cooks quickly so stir it in at the same time that you stir in the lobster meat, cutting it into a similar size.

What are some creative garnishing ideas for a lobster bisque recipe?

It’s always a good idea to garnish with more lobster! Fresh herbs are also an excellent option along with a swirl of heavy cream or creme fraiche. Other ideas including topping with a crostini, fresh charred corn, or parmesan crisps.

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