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There are some meals you never forget.
Several years ago when I was still singing full-time, I was hired to sing for a Valentine's Day gala. It was a fabulously set-up concert: love duets, dinner theatre, and a 5-course meal prepared by an exquisite chef paired with swoon-worthy wines.
But even more fabulous – at least from my point of view – was that written right into my contract was an invitation to stay and enjoy the meal. For a foodie like me, this was an opportunity I wasn't about to pass up.
The one dish I remember particularly was a silky-smooth White Chocolate Lobster Bisque. It was so outstanding that immediately upon returning home, I set out to come up with a version of my own, as I wanted to enjoy it again and again. And a couple of years later, after I was married, it was what I pulled out to celebrate my first anniversary with my husband (which just happens to coincide with Valentine's Day, don't ya know?)
Frugal tips when cooking with lobster
Now, not everyone has access to lobster, and even those who do, it's often rather expensive, so this particular version of the recipe accounts for that by giving alternate stock options. I've made this with chicken stock numerous times with great success, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand.
If you do want to go all out and make this as a White Chocolate Lobster Bisque, not just a White Chocolate Whatever Bisque, yet want to keep your costs at a minimum, consider skipping the lobster meat and just making the lobster stock. If you can find a fishmonger near you, ask if they have any lobster shells they're going to throw out – if they do, they'll often give them to you for free or for quite cheap.
Click here to see how to make lobster stock.
A note about sourcing white chocolate
A couple of notes about chocolate are necessary here too.
From a health standpoint, commercial white chocolate often has soy lecithin, heavily processed milk solids, refined sugars, and other ingredients that you may want to avoid. As always, read your labels carefully and be aware of what you're purchasing.
And from an ethical standpoint, white chocolate has the same issues as regular chocolate in terms of child labor and unethical production practices. There are a number of ethical companies who do good business, so make your chocolate purchases thoughtfully.
And of course, if you just want to make your own, it's not difficult. I've got a recipe in my upcoming e-book, The Natural Pantry Handbook, but in the meantime, Laura's recipe for homemade white chocolate chips at Heavenly Homemakers is foolproof and the best I know of.
Here's to swooning tastebuds and meals shared with people we love!
White Chocolate Lobster Bisque
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 4 cups lobster or chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 quart heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pinch ground black or white pepper
- ¼ cup brandy or sherry
- 100 g 3 oz white chocolate, melted
- meat from 1-2 lobster tails, cooked (1-2 cups)
- In a large soup pan, saute the ginger and onion in butter until the onion is soft. Do not brown.
- Add the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer over medium heat and reduce by half, 10-15 minutes.
- Add the white wine and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the quart of heavy cream, salt, pepper, and brandy and simmer gently over medium-law heat until slightly thickened, 10-15 minutes.
- Pour soup through a strainer to remove solids. Place back in pan to keep warm or refrigerate for 1-2 days.
- To serve, melt chocolate in a double boiler, then stir into the hot soup. Ladle hot bisque into bowls and pile lobster meat in the center.