My lobster bisque for a rainy day

Sandra Slawinski 10th June 2020 0 comments

Lobster is now in season in Belgium and I LOVE indulging. I eat the lovely lobster meat with salad or green beans and toss the shells in my freezer until I ve a few ( minimum 3) and then make a lovely lobster bisque from it. The soup can be frozen, ready for that rainy summers day!

I always keep 3 ziplock bags in the freezer ( definitely not single use plastics for me): 1 bag for vegetables and herbs like carrots, leeks, onion, shallots, celery and parsley, 1 bag for crustacean shells and 1 bag basil leaves as I can’t grown it in my north facing garden.

Making soup is one of the most joyful yet simple things to cook, and lobster bisque may sound fancy but it really comes down to simmering the shells in stock and maximising the flavour.

BISQUE – a French smooth, creamy highly seasoned soup made with crustaceans like lobster, shrimp and crab. It has a bit of cognac for flavour but I s mostly spiced with smoked paprika or pigment d’Espelette.


  • I freeze my lobster shells until I have enough to make bisque from or a rainy summers day. Just toss them frozen in the pot, same goes for the vegetables.
  • If you are brave, flambé de cognac i.e. light a match to burn off the alcohol. Or just boil for 5 minutes and the alcohol will evaporate.
  • Replace pigment d’espelette by smoked paprika or chilli.
  • You can freeze the soup before you add the cream and cognac.


My tiny freezer always stuffed with ingredients ready to be pulled out and made into tasty wholesome food.

STEP 1: Sweat the onions, celery leeks and carrots in butter. Dust with flour and add tomato puree.

STEP 2: add fish stock, herbs and lobster shells. Let simmer the shells in stock for 1 hour with the lid on; remove the bae leaf and boil for 20 minutes at high heat.

STEP 3:  Remove 1 ladle of shells, and press into a sieve above a bowl to collect the juices. Disregard the shells once pressed. Bring the liquid back to a boil in the same stock pot, add the cognac, boil for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and add the cream. Season to taste with salt and pigment d’espelette and serve.

My lobster bisque

Yield 4 servings


  • lobster shells ( minimum 3, can be frozen)
  • 2 table spoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 celery stem, chopped coarsely
  • 1 carrot, chopped coarsely
  • 1 small leek, chopped coarsely
  • 1 table spoon flour
  • 2 table spoons concentrated tomato puree
  • 1 later fish stock
  • 2 bae leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt
  • 1 tea spoon pigment d'espelette 
  • 1 table spoon cognac
  • 180 ml cream


  1. Melt the butter in a stock pot, sweat the onions for a few minutes ( do not let them brown), add the celery, carrots and leeks and sweat for a few minutes. Dust with flour, stir to combine and absorb.
  2. Add the tomato puree, herbs and fish stock. Stir to combine with spatula and scrape sides of the pot to incorporate all the bits. 
  3. Add the shells and add more stock or water until the shells are just about submerged. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to simmering. Simmer for 1 hour to allow the moisture and steam to extract flavour from the shells.
  4. Remove lid and bring to a boil for 20 minutes to recuse the moisture and concentrate the flavour.
  5. Remove little by little the shells from the stock pot to a sieve and bowl. Press with the back of a spoon or ladle the shells to render their juices. Disregard the shells.
  6. Return the liquid to the stock pot, bring to a boil and add the cognac to evaporate the alcohol. You can also flame it if you are brave. Boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat.
  7. Add the cream and taste. Season with salt and pigment d'espelette. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and serve.


on by Sandra Slawinski

Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals. Used my selection of mugs, dishtowel from Dille & Kamille and my Le Creuset cookpot .