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Lobster bisque is a rich, creamy soup that contains lobster meat, usually is seasoned heavily and might contain vegetables. The meat from the lobster's tail typically is finely chopped or puréed. Some lobster bisque recipes call for alcohol, such as sherry or wine, to be added to the mixture while it cooks. In traditional recipes, the lobster's shell might be ground into a powder and added to the soup to thicken it.
The term "bisque" usually refers to a creamy soup containing the meat of crustaceans, such as lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. It sometimes is used, however, to refer to creamy soups that contain puréed vegetables such as mushrooms, squash or tomatoes but no meat. Seafood bisques are of French origin and are especially popular in Europe and North America. Like most soups, lobster bisque is commonly served as an appetizer. This type of soup is so thick and rich, however, that it can constitute a main course if it is served with a generous portion of bread.
Making lobster bisque usually takes between one to two hours. In addition to lobster, common ingredients include butter, flour, stock, spices and herbs. Common vegetables that might be added to lobster bisque include tomatoes, celery and onions.
The ingredients tend to be added to the saucepan in stages, before batches of the cooked mixture are put into a food processor and blended until smooth. Some people like to use fresh lobster in the recipe. Precooked and frozen lobster can be used, though.
Making the stock from lobster tails often requires a sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth in order to strain the stock. If a live lobster is being used, it will be boiled in a large pot and removed from the boiling water with a set of tongs. A steamer can be used to cook the lobster as an alternative to roasting.
Many stores sell ready-made lobster bisque in cans. Some outlets even offer bags of the soup in frozen form, which the buyer simply places in boiling water to cook. Canned and frozen foods tend to keep longer than fresh dishes.
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