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Niagara Falls
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Cooking with Collin: Save shells for Icewine Lobster Bisque

Collin Goodine

Special to The Lake Report

The other night I had the privilege to dine with some very good friends and enjoy an array of Niagara’s finest wines and spirits. The dinner was a well-prepared meal with flavours of creole, Cajun and the east coast. It reminded me a little bit of being in Nova Scotia, enjoying the beautiful meals my family would prepare while outside in the backyard husking corn, shucking oysters, having a lobster bake or enjoying freshly dug clams. Amazingly simple and full of natural flavour.

At the end of the meal the large amount of shells were about to end up in the compost bin along with the other scraps when I realized that this meal did not have to end there. I decided I would make my friends lobster bisque as a thank you for the hospitality and wonderful meal. So here is a classic soup using up the shells of your next lobster dinner.

Icewine Lobster Bisque

Ingredients for stock:

4 carrots

2 large onions

Leftover shells of 4 1-1/2 lb lobsters

1 tsp black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

1 tsp cardamom seeds

2 lemons, cut in half

16 litres of water

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp old bay spice

Ingredients for soup:

3 stalks celery

1 onion

4 tomatoes

2 cans (156 ml each) tomato paste

1 tbsp garlic puree

1 cup icewine

8 litres reduced lobster stock

1 cup clam juice

2 cups 35% cream

1/2 cup parboiled rice

Juice of 2 lemons

2 sprigs tarragon

1/2 tsp chopped thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Any lobster meat retained from the shells (optional)


For stock: Clean and roughly cut carrots and onions and place onto a baking pan with parchment paper underneath. Add the lobster shells and roast at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

In a large thick-bottomed pot, place the peppercorns, bayleaf, cardamom and lemons. Add the roasted ingredients to the pot and cover with 12 to 16 litres of water. Add salt and old bay spice. Simmer for 2 hours.

Strain the liquid into another pot and boil/reduce until the liquid is half of what it was. This will be your fortified lobster stock. At this point it can be frozen and saved until ready to make the soup.

When ready to make the soup, dice the celery and onion and sauté in a little butter or oil until soft and somewhat caramelized. Toss in the chopped tomatoes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, cooking and almost charring the tomato paste.

Deglaze with the icewine, stirring to remove anything from the pot’s bottom. Add the stock, clam juice and cream, reserving a litre of stock for when making the soup. Simmer on low.

Add the rice, lemon juice and continue to cook until rice is done. The soup should have a thicker consistency. At this point you can turn off the soup.

Add the tarragon and thyme.

Ladle the soup contents into a Vitamix or high-powered blender and puree on high until very smooth.

Strain through a very fine strainer as a precaution, but if you do not have one that is OK. It should be very smooth. Continue until all the soup is pureed, adjust seasoning.

If there is any lobster left over, or you managed to reserve some, you can chop it and add to the finished product.

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