Christmas Eve dinner somehow has become a seafood feast that features ravioli. This year Tyler asked me to make the Shrimp and Lobster Bisque like we used to make in the restaurant. It takes a bit of effort but it sure is an indulgent soup!
Perfect for a special dinner.
So here goes.
Make Shrimp and Lobster Stock
1# fresh wild-caught shrimp, any size (I used 26-30’s for this recipe)
1- 2 ounce lobster tail per person + 1
You can use a whole lobster and use the claws for decoration or you can use frozen lobster meat. Tails were on sale at the grocery so I bought some. Perfect!
1# thickly sliced carrots
1/2 pound chopped celery
1/2 pound chopped onions
1/4 cup tomato paste
Sprig of fresh thyme
3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
1/4 cup brandy, flambeed to remove alcohol
1 gallon water
1 pint heavy cream (later, to finish)
Remove the shells and tails from the shrimp, reserve the shells and tails for making the stock.
Set shrimp aside, keep it cold.
Remove the tail meat from the lobster, run a skewer down the underside of the tail to keep it from curling while cooking. Keep the tails cold.
Roughly chop the shells with your knife. put the chopped shells and shrimp shells into a 2 gallon stock pot.
Over high heat, saute the shells until they turn red and pink.
Add the chopped carrots, onions, celery, thyme and garlic to the pot and saute the vegetables until they soften a bit.
Add the tomato paste and stir to coat everything as much as you can with the paste.
Do not allow this to burn. Once you see a bit of color forming on the bottom of the pan, add the 1/4 cup brandy. Since you are working in a stock pot, you will have to ignite the brandy fumes with an extension lighter. Just place the flame over the edge of the pot to ignite the brandy. Let the fire burn until it extinguishes. This burns out the raw alcohol.
When the flames go out, stir and then add 1 gallon cold water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow this to simmer for at least 1 hour, 2-3 hours is best.
Do not cover the pot, do not boil the pot and do not stir. Doing any of these things will make your stock cloudy.
Strain, reserving the liquid, throw away all of the vegetables and shells. Use a fine screen strainer to ensure all shell fragments are removed from the finished stock.
Cool and reserve for making the bisque.
To Make the Bisque:
Reserve a few shrimp whole for garnish. Roughly chop the remaining shrimp. Season with salt and white pepper.
Season the skewered lobster tails. Trim the bamboo skewers used to keep the lobster straight so they fit into the saute pan.
Saute the tails and shrimp in a small bit of olive oil. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, allow to flambe to cook out the alcohol.
Bring the stock to a boil and add the heavy cream simmer until the consistency coats the back of a spoon. This may take 30-40 minutes, depending on how fast you simmer.
Alternatively, you could use 4-6 ounces of roux to thicken and simmer the stock and cream for 15-20 minutes to cook out the flour taste. I prefer to use the reduction method for better flavor and less fat and flour in the final dish. Using roux is the classic method.
When the stock and cream are at the consistency you desire, add the flambeed shrimp to the soup.
Remove the skewer from the tails and slice each tail into nice neat disks.
Place 3-5 disks of lobster in the center of the soup bowl and ladle the hot broth over the lobster.
Garnish with a small dollop of sour cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche.