The secrets to a deep rich flavor and color are the combinations of the rich homemade lobster/shrimp and fish stocks. The velvety cream texture is from a small amount of rice cooked in the bisque and then everything pureed and strained; and the lobster and shrimp pieces added last or as a garnish.
2-3 small lobster tails
1 lb shell-on medium shrimp
2 cups fish stock, homemade or high quality purchased
1 cup homemade beef stock (optional)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoon cognac or brandy
1 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, and 8 black peppercorns
4 T. unsalted butter
1 small onion, 1 celery rib, 1 carrot – all finely minced
1-2 T. cognac or brandy, optional
3 T. tomato paste
1/3 cup rice
1 T. fresh tarragon or 1 t. dried (fresh much preferable)
½ t. dried thyme; ½ t. cayenne, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, to taste and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup heavy cream, or more if needed
- Remove lobster and shrimp from the shells. Reserve meat, covered in refrigerator. Break lobster shells into smaller pieces.
- Melt 2 T. butter in heavy, medium stock pot. Stir in lobster & shrimp shells, and cook until they are red. Add 2 T. cognac, cook off and add 1 c. white wine. Cook for a few minutes, then add 3 cups of water, bay leaf, thyme and whole peppercorns. Bring just up to boil, then simmer 15 minutes. Add the fish stock, (optional beef stock), another cup of white wine and 2 (3 if not using beef stock) more cups of water. Bring up to boil again, and simmer another 15-20 minutes. STRAIN.
- Meanwhile, melt 3-4 T. butter in a wide, deep stock pot. Sweat, but do not brown, the onion, celery and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, (add the optional cognac and cook off). Add the tomato paste, strained combined broth, 1/3 cup white rice, tarragon, cayenne, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soft and rice thoroughly cooked.
- Puree the soup in blender, in batches. Strain into clean pot.
- Prepare the lobster and shrimp. Cut into bite size pieces. Sauté in butter, until just done, no more.
- Add cream to soup, heat gently. Check soup for seasoning. May need salt, pepper, a few drops of lemon juice and/or cayenne. Either add the seafood to the soup, or add to bowl, before or after ladling in soup. Garnish with fresh chopped tarragon, chives or parsley.
(Toasted baguette slice rubbed with garlic is a nice accompaniment)