Thanksgiving Lobster Bisque: Heaven in a Spoon

lobster bisqueThis Thanksgiving, I decided to try my hand at making lobster bisque for our first course. I needed a really good recipe that didn’t have a lot of ingredients I didn’t have or couldn’t get. I asked my friend, Glenn Curtis, a fabulous and inventive cook, who recently relocated to Maine, for a recipe for “real” lobster bisque. He came through with a wonderful recipe that’s easy to make, although a bit time-consuming, and which was the star of our Thanksgiving feast.

In addition to the bisque, I made chopped liver, stuffing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, roasted buttercup squash, fresh green beans, fresh asparagus and cranberry orange relish to accompany the fried 21 lb turkey. For dessert, I baked pumpkin, dark chocolate pecan pie and a double crust caramelized pear pie.

I also put crescent rolls in the oven right before we ate, but I completely forgot about them. When we went into the kitchen to begin cleanup, I noticed the oven was still on. And then I realized…that funky-something’s-burning-smell was the perfectly formed, charred remains of Pillsbury’s best.

Lobster Bisque from the Tree House Foodie, Glenn Curtis (

This makes about 12 6 oz. servings.

1 lb frozen langostino ( prawns or large shrimp may be used also ) – thawed in the fridge
1-2 lb frozen lobster claws  – thawed in the fridge ) depending on # of people
6 cups of water
1 tsp salt

• Bring the water to boil with the salt in a large stock pot and add the crab claws and simmer for 4 minutes.
• Add the langostino and simmer for 2 minutes more.
• Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon to a bowl and let cool. Remove crab meat from claws (and langostino tails from shells if they are in shells). Save the shells for further step.
• Set aside one whole lobster claw for each bowl of bisque you will be serving ( 8 claws for 8 people).
• Chop the remaining claws and the langostino roughly and set aside for adding to the bisque at the end.
• Save the cooking water for the further step.
————————————————————————————————————————-2 Tbsp butter
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2  tsp thyme
1/4  tsp black pepper
1/3 of a cup tomato paste
1/4 cup sherry or brandy ( in a pinch, you can also use dry white wine )

• Heat the butter on med high heat in a large stock pot.
• Add all of the chopped veggies and herbs/seasonings.
• Stir while cooking for about 5 minutes. It’s OK if they start sticking to the bottom of the pot.
• Add the sherry (or brandy or wine) and deglaze the pan until the alcohol has evaporated by half.
———————————————————————————————————————————2 bottles clam juice
Reserved cooking water from above
Reserved empty shells from above

• Add the clam juice to the cooked veggies, add the reserved cooking water and the shells.
• Bring to a low simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
• Pour the stock through a fine sieve and press with a large spoon to press out the liquid.
• Discard the veggies and shells.
• Clean the stock pot and return the broth to the pot and heat on medium heat until just a very low simmer. You do not want this to boil.
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
Reserved chopped meat
Reserved whole lobster claws plus 1 TBS butter
Chopped chives for garnish

• Add the heavy cream to the pot and stir until well blended.
• Add the chopped shellfish and the saffron and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• Taste and adjust salt and pepper to preference.
• In a small sauté pan, heat the tbsp of butter over medium high heat.
• Add the whole lobster claws and sauté for several minutes until heated through.
• Ladle the bisque into shallow bowls and place one whole lobster claw in the middle of each.
• Sprinkle with some chopped chives and serve!


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1 Response to Thanksgiving Lobster Bisque: Heaven in a Spoon

  1. Linda says:

    Oh Barbara! I’m sure it was absolutely delicious, but I can’t even imagine preparing such an elaborate recipe, even on a slow day, let alone on Thanksgiving with a whole “nother” meal to cook. You are amazing!

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