Maine Lobster Bisque

By: The Culinary Institute of America

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Chef Scott Samuel from The Culinary Institute of America shows us a classic lobster dish: Maine Lobster bisque. He demonstrates key techniques for building and developing a richly flavored base, including the addition of brandy, and white wine.

Yield: 16 4 oz. portions


Butter, melted ¼ cup
Carrot, peeled and chopped 1 ea.
Onion, peeled and chopped 1 ea.
Lobster shells, cut into pieces 8 cups
Tomato, medium, chopped 1 ea.
Brandy ½ cup
White wine 1 cup
Lobster stock, simmering 8 cups
Fresh tarragon ½ bu.
Bay leaf 2 ea.
Black peppercorns 2 tsp.
Paprika 1 Tbsp.
Fresh thyme sprigs 3 ea.
Dried chili flakes ¼ tsp.
Turmeric ¼ tsp.
Fresh Italian parsley sprigs 8 ea.
Heavy cream 4 cups
Lobster butter, made from the roe, if available 4 oz.
Sea salt 1-2 tsp.
Lemon juice as needed


For the bisque: In a large soup pot, add the butter and sauté the carrot, onions, and lobster shells until the vegetables just start to caramelize and the lobster shells start to turn red, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato and stir to combine, cook until the liquid bubbles. When the lobster shells are bright red, add the brandy and flame off the alcohol.

For the rice thickener: Meanwhile, combine the rice and chicken stock together in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until all the liquid has been evaporated; the rice will be used as a thickener for the bisque later on. Set aside.

Once the flames are gone, add the white wine and stir to scrape up all the bits off the bottom of the sauté pan; this is called deglazing. Add the simmering fish stock; or just enough to cover. Add all the dried spices and fresh herbs and simmer the bisque for 30 to 40 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add the cream and simmer again for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through china cap making sure to get all the liquid. This is the base of the soup. You need to now thicken the bisque with the cooked rice, and season to taste with kosher salt, and lemon.

Using a blender or a beurre mixer blender, add 1 cup of the overcooked rice at a time to the soup base and purée until smooth. Taste and determine if it needs more thickening. Add the lobster butter and salt and purée until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, heat again and serve.