Harvard Faculty Club Lobster Bisque

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  • 6 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 (1 pound) lobsters
  • 3 ounces brandy
  • 2 ounces sherry
  • 2 ounces white wine
  • 15 white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 3 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste


  1. Heat 3 ounces oil in the bottom of a stockpot. Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, tomato and garlic until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook 4-5 minutes (do not let brown). Add the flour and cook at low heat, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Whisk in the chicken broth and lemon juice. Simmer on low until smooth.
  2. Kill each lobster by putting a knife into the cross between the eyes. Pull the tails and claws from the body. Poach the tails just until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool in ice water. Dice the meat and set aside.
  3. Using a meat cleaver, chop the body and claws (including shells) into small pieces. Heat the rest of the vegetable oil in the bottom of another stock pot and sear the body and claw pieces. Remove the pan from the stove and add the brandy, sherry and white wine to deglaze. Return to the stove, and bring to a slow simmer. (Be careful in case the alcohol ignites.) Let simmer until the liquid in the pan is reduced by half. Add the basil, tarragon, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add the vegetable-chicken broth mixture, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream and simmer until the liquid is reduced to the desired consistency.
  5. Strain through a fine strainer. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Garnish with the chopped meat from the lobster tails and whipped cream seasoned with herbs (optional).

Makes 8-10 servings.

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