Lobster Bisque Recipe

Makes: 2 liters. Cooking time: 1½ hours.

Ingredients:

— 1 dl oil
— 100 grams carrots
— 100 grams onion
— 50 grams celery
— parsley stalks
— 1 sprig thyme
— 1 bay leaf
— 2 kg crushed lobster shells
— 1 liter fish stock
— 50 grams tomato puree
— 1½ liters fish or veal veloute
— seasoning of salt and pepper
— 50 grams butter
— 1 dl cream
— ½ liters brandy
— 100 grams diced cooked lobster for garnish

Method:

(1) Heat the oil in a shallow pan; add and lightly color the vegetables with the herbs.
(2) Add the crushed lobster shells and lightly cook.
(3) Add the fish stock and tomato purée and allow to simmer for about 1 hour.
(4) Strain the cooking liquid into another saucepan and boil to reduce to about half the quantity.
(5) Whisk in the velouté and continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes.
(6) Pass the soup through a fine strainer; reboil, remove from the heat and adjust the thickness and seasoning.
(7) Complete the soup with the cream, knobs of butter, brandy and the garnish of diced lobster.

Note:
When whisking in the velouté, if it is considered that the soup will be too pale in color after adding the cream, extra tomato purée may be added.

Service:
Bisques may be served in a soup tureen or soup plate.

Assessment of the completed dish:

(1) The soup should be hot.
(2) The color should be a light pale pink to red.
(3) The texture can either be coarse like a purée soup, or very smooth and velvety.
(4) This is a very richly flavoured soup; there should be a blend of the lobster and herbs with an awareness of the brandy.
(5) The consistency should be similar to that of single cream well able to coat the back of a spoon.
(6) The garnish should be neatly cut into dice, moist but not stringy through overcooking.
(7) A standard portion should be approximately 2 dl per person.

Possible problem, cause and solution:

(1) Soup has a burnt flavor:
— vegetables have been burnt when being sweated in the initial stages; care must be taken to avoid this as the burnt flavor may be passed through to the finished soup and cannot be rectified.
— when being reboiled the soup has stuck to the bottom of the pan and burnt; great care must be taken at this stage when the soup is in a purée state and most likely to burn as the flavor cannot be rectified.
— the soup is also likely to burn during the second stage of preparation when the lobster has been crushed and returned with the rice, especially if the soup is particularly thick; great care must also be taken at this stage as the burnt flavor cannot be rectified later.

(2) Soup is too thin:
— too much stock added; thicken with some lobster butter, more velouté sauce or a little beurre manié.
— insufficient thickening agent such as rice used; thicken with some lobster butter, some more velouté sauce or a little beurre manié.

(3) Soup is too thick:
— soup has been cooked rapidly causing the liquid to reduce excessively; thin with additional white stock, white wine or a combination of the two.
— too much thickening agent used; thin with additional white stock, white wine or a combination of the two.

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