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White bean soup made with a sweet Vidalia onion, a stalk of celery and a cubed ham steak, simmered to tender savory perfection. And a johnny cake, made with raw honey to add that touch of sweetness, done in a hot iron skillet and then oven baked to a golden brown, slathered in fresh creamery butter. With a side of pickled beets. Us poor folks has got poor ways.

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Lobster Bisque

This recipe is a combination of techniques. No single task is difficult, but it does take time and does dirty dishes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Four (1 – 1.25 pound) lobster shells with juices from dismemberment if available

1 leek, white part cut in half lengthwise

1 small onion rough chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and cut in three pieces

1 stalk of celery cut in three pieces

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 shots brandy

2 shots dry sherry

1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

1 bottle clam juice

1 cardboard container Swanson seafood stock

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 cup tomato juice

½ pint heavy cream

8 ounces cold lobster or raw shrimp, cut in bite size pieces

8 peppercorns

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Salt to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the stomach contents from the lobster carcass as well as the gills. Cut the large shell pieces with kitchen shears to roughly 3 inch pieces. Place all of the shells on top of the onion, leeks, carrots, and celery in a tray pan. Roast the tray of shells and vegetables for 30 - 40 minutes. Brown edges for the vegetables are good. Black edges are not.

Any juices should go into an enameled Dutch oven. When the shells and vegetables are roasted, place them in the Dutch oven. Pour the two shots of brandy over the shells and carefully ignite. Allow the brandy to burn off. Pour in the clam juice and the seafood stock. Add enough additional water to cover the shells. Add the garlic, the peppercorns, and the tomato paste. Stir to mix in the paste. Heat over medium heat just to the boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 – 50 minutes.

Use a fine mesh sieve (china cap) and drain the strong stock into a saucepan. Boil the stock gently to reduce it by 25%. To the saucepan add the Old Bay and the tomato juice. Bring the stock just to the boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Add the heavy cream and simmer until the bisque thickens and the dairy taste disappears.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the sherry and add the mixture to the bisque to flavor and thicken. Add the lobster or shrimp as well. When the bisque thickens, taste and adjust the salt and sherry flavors if needed.

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A less expensive bisque can be made from crawfish shells or shrimp shells. If the crawfish were cooked in one of those spicy Louisiana style boils, rinse them thoroughly before you roast them.

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Sounds good folks. I've been working a lot so I haven't done any significant cooking. Did do some crab legs wiith rice pilaf and creamed spinach for the gals this weekend. Waiting for the temps to climb a bit...have 12 racks of baby backs, a couple pork butts, and a brisket to smoke, plus two pork bellies to cure and smoke for some home made bacon. Might do the pork bellies up tonight and cold smoke them this weekend.

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Well I made Valentines dinner for all my women last night. Nothing fancy. Chicken Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Blackened Italian Sausage Fettuccine, breadsticks, and a monster salad. And I made one hell of a mess in the kitchen.

Did your belly escape the mess?

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I'm merely an employee of the family. I feel honored that the Queen and Princesses allow me to live there.

Amen there.

I handle luggage, oil changes, you know whatever they throw my way.

I cook because I like too.

In all seriousness, my girls take care real good care of me.

Pete

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Rps--sounds outstanding. I can tell that's a great bisque -- it's got all the right stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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