Tuesday, August 10, 2010
A "bisque" is a smooth, creamy, soup with French origins. Bisque is broth left after simmering shellfish with aromatic vegetables, straining, then mixing with cream. According to Wikipedia, the name "Bisque" is thought to either be derived from The Bay of Biscay (on the West side of France and the North side of Spain), or from the term "bis cuits", which is a Spanish/French jumble, meaning "twice cooked".
This soup an involved and long process, especially when you factor in the lobster dinner required in advance of the soup making, but in the end, it is well worth it.
Serves 2 entrees or 4 appetizers
left over parts of 2 cooked lobsters (legs & bodies)
4 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup brandy or sherry
1/4 cup sweet white whine
2 tomatoes, chopped
few sprigs of thyme
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups cream (I used Half & Half Coffee Cream!)
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup cooked lobster meat, in chunks (reserved until end)
A few springs of Italian parsley, chopped (reserved until end)
sour cream (optional)
1. Chop the lobster remains into smaller pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic and bay leaf to pot. Stir until veggies are translucent.
3. Add tomato paste and stir together for a couple minutes. Add lobster pieces, then add brandy and white wine and mix well. Add tomatoes, thyme, cayenne and salt. Give it a quick stir. Add water and stir again. Let cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, until volume is reduced by half.
4. Once soup has reduced, place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain the soup by ladling it into the strainer. Press the liquid out using the back of a large spoon. Discard the solids. Pour the liquid from the bowl back into the saucepan.
5. Stir in cream and simmer for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with warm water and add to soup. Simmer for two minutes, and stir, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Skim off any fat from the top of the soup, then whisk quickly for a few minutes so the soup is frothy. This will help incorporate any remaining fat into the soup and incorporate air into it, making it lighter and creamier. Let soup stand for a few minutes so the froth subsides slightly.
6. Drop a spoonful of lobster meat into each bowl. Ladle bisque into bowls over top of lobster. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sour cream. Serve with a warm Cheddar Bay Biscuit.