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New Year’s Eve Indulgence

lobster bisque

There aren’t too many dishes more extravagant than a rich and creamy lobster bisque. This is a short-cut version because it begins with already cooked lobsters, making it quicker to pull together. Both of my lobsters were female (also known as hens), which was a happy and unexpected bonus since they included the roe which is also called the coral or caviar. Enjoy and have a fun and safe (that doesn’t have to be an oxymoron) New Year’s Eve!

NYE table

Lobster Bisque

2 cooked lobsters, (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 8 pieces
1 large carrot, ends trimmed then cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1/4 cup flour
4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

6 to 8 tablespoons dry Sherry
Fresh minced chives, for garnish

Place the lobsters on a rimmed baking sheet to catch all the juices as you break down the lobsters and remove the meat. Break off the tails and claws. Using kitchen shears, snip up the back of the tails to open and remove the meat. Do the same with all four claws. Chop the meat roughly, place in a bowl, cover, and set aside at room temperature.

bisque fixings

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot until the butter is melted. Add the lobster shells and their juices that are collected on the baking sheet, the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, and tomato paste. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Ignite off of the flame of the stove

Ignite the flame off the stove – flames can be seen on the right side of the pot

Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the cognac and Grand Marnier. Ignite the liqueurs with a long wooden match and let the alcohol burn off. Return to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add enough cold water to cover and stir the bottom of the pot with a heat-resistant spatula to get up all the browned bits. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately upon the boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer until the bisque is reduced and thickened about 40 to 45 minutes.  Using a very fine mesh strainer, strain the bisque into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, ladle the bisque into warmed soup bowls. Add the chopped lobster meat and 1 tablespoon dry Sherry to each bowl, garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

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