Lobster bisque with Pernod and tarragon cream

Lobster bisque with Pernod and tarragon cream

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 cooked lobster, about 650–850 g
2 shallots
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato puree
50ml brandy
100ml white wine
1 bay leaf
parsley sprigs
1 mace blade
6 black peppercorns
1 star anise
1 litre Fish stock
or 1 litre shellfish stock
1 litre water
50g butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
100ml double cream
ground white pepper

For the tarragon cream

Quantity Ingredient
100ml double cream
2 tablespoons pernod
1 shallot
tarragon sprigs


  1. Cut the lobster in half lengthways and extract all the meat, removing and discarding the intestine from the tail and the stomach sac from the head; set aside.
  2. Peel and slice the shallots and carrot. Slice the celery and peel and crush the garlic. Chop up the lobster shells with a large knife or cleaver.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium heat and fry the lobster shells until they start to turn golden brown and begin to smell toasted, then add the shallots, carrot and celery, and cook until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the garlic and tomato purée and continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and wine. Reduce the heat and add the bay leaf, parsley, mace, black peppercorns and star anise to the pan. Add the stock and water and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the softer parts of the lobster shells (the legs, tail and carapace) and whiz in a heavy-duty food processor or bash in a plastic bag with a meat pounder (if using this method, include the claw shells) until they have broken up as much as possible.
  6. Add back the broken lobster shells to the stock and scrape all the flavoursome residue from the food processor into the stock. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and gently simmer to reduce by half, or until it has become concentrated in flavour.
  7. Meanwhile, for the tarragon cream, put the cream in a small saucepan with the Pernod. Halve, peel and slice the shallot and add to the pan with 1 tarragon sprig. Simmer gently until it has reduced by a quarter, then remove from the heat and set aside to infuse.
  8. Melt the butter in a medium to large saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Pour over the reduced lobster stock and add the 100 ml double cream, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  9. Cut the reserved lobster flesh into bite-sized pieces, add to the bisque and gently warm it through.
  10. Warm through the tarragon cream over a low heat and strain it into a blender. Chop enough tarragon leaves to give you 1 tablespoon, add to the cream and blend. Season with salt and white pepper.
  11. Divide the bisque between 4 soup bowls, making sure the lobster meat is distributed equally. Spoon a little of the tarragon cream on top of each.


  • Crab bisque: Use 2 small or 1 large cooked crab in place of the lobster. Remove the crab meat and set it aside. Break up the crab shells with a rolling pin or meat pounder. (Crab shells are generally harder than lobster and will damage your food processor.) Proceed as for the main recipe.

    Prawn bisque: Use 750 g cooked prawns in place of the lobster. Peel and devein the prawns, reserving the peeled prawn shells for the stock.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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