OMG Bisque


It is not often that I impress even myself with some odd thing I have cooked. I experiment all the time and seldom have a problem finding “tasters” who travel miles to experience my cuisine.

I usually tend toward “quick and easy” — attributes that make food accessible and fun. But… sometimes… I “shoot for the stars” = the inner gourmet who embraces the intricacies of “haute cuisine” while challenging accepted practices. There are times when I aspire to create a dish so complex and subtly flavored that it elevates the concept of how heavenly food can be.

In the process of writing a memoir of my time in Paris as a restaurateur, I ascended this weekend to a new level.

The back story is that, over the years, I have amassed a HUGE collection of recipes that I used in my restaurant as well as in my daily kitchen today. Among the recipes is one for a lobster bisque that I first enjoyed in the 1980s at Hamburger Hamlet on the Gold Coast of Chicago. It was SO GOOD, I have aspired ever since to reproduce it. But, it was so complicated, I always recoiled at the effort it took to make it a reality.

This weekend, I dug that recipe out of my files and decided it was time. I needed inspiration and this was the key to the kingdom.

After a three day marathon of histrionic effort, I produced 8 cups of joy — a lobster bisque so heavenly in taste, it transported me to nirvana. Unfortunately, it didn’t contribute much to my memory bank for the book I am writing; I continue to struggle with the manuscript for Paris in a Pot.

This recipe is purely an academic exercise. Nobody I know will be as dedicated as I was in preparing it. Today’s world moves too fast and the multiple pots of effort that result in a mere 8 cups is too much to endure.

Here  it is… If you have the time and patience, it is something you will LOVE.

I have also included an “instant” version at the end…. not as good but it will do in a pinch.

Lobster - bisque


First, make stocks – two pots, which you can cook simultaneously:





8 cups  water
2x lobster shells
?? shrimp shells (from the 1# of shrimp that will go into the final mix)


1 cup crayfish (dried)
½ cup bouillon (chicken, powder) 


PUT all ingredients into a soup pot
COOK on low heat until the water is infused with seafood essence (about 2 hours)
While that is cooking, make vegetable stock in another pot



8 cups  water
2x onions (chopped large)
4x carrots (sliced large)
4x celery ribs (sliced large with leaves)
6x plum tomatoes (chopped large)
1 cup tomato sauce (canned)
1 cup green peas (dried)
2 tbs oil (olive)


1 tbs pepper (black peppercorns)
2 tbs garlic (minced)
8x bay leaves
2 tbs thyme (dried)
2 cups parsley (fresh, chopped)
½ tsp saffron


PUT all ingredients into a soup pot
COOK slowly on low heat until the vegetables are mushy (about 2 hours)

LAST STEP — the actual BISQUE:


2x lobster tails (chunked)
1# shrimp (meat only; shells were used for stock)
¼ cup lime juice
1 cup wine (dry red)
1 cup heavy cream


COMBINE seafood and vegetable stocks in a large soup pot
SIMMER until they marry (about 1 hour)
COOL & PROCESS (in batches) in a blender
STRAIN off liquid (you will up with a gunky mass of vegetable matter to discard)
RETURN liquid to soup pot
ADD lobster & shrimp to liquid
HEAT through (about 10 minutes)
TRANSFER mixture to blender and PROCESS again (in batches) until creamy
RETURN to soup pot
ADD lime juice, wine & heavy cream
HEAT through
SERVE with toasted good bread on the side for sopping

Knowing that this exercise is more than most people who are not as dedicated as me, here is the simple version of lobster bisque that served me well until I decided to take the plunge to create the real thing.



2 cans  green pea soup
2 cans tomato soup
2 cups milk (whole)
2 cups heavy cream
16 oz lobster meat (chunked)



1 tsp pepper (black)
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 cup dry sherry


COMBINE soups, milks, and seasonings in soup pot
BRING to boil & TURN heat down
STIR in lobster meat and sherry
COOL & PROCESS in blender
HEAT again before serving


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