Bones are used for good meat stock, fish bones for fish stock, and to make crustacean stock, you use the carapaces, shells, claws and head of lobster, crayfish or shrimp. So, don’t you throw these away!
There are some links in the recipe to the tips & tricks of broth making with descriptions of how to strain, reduce, cool and keep broth. Because that is the same for all broths and stocks, this information is gathered on one page. I have also added a list to that page with links to all recipes for stocks and soups.
Whether making stock from lobster, crayfish or shrimp, the recipe stays the same. Some soups and dishes also need the meat of the crustaceans.
For 1 liter stock or ¾ liter fumet; preparation in advance 20 minutes; preparation 1 hour + straining and reducing.
500 gr (1 pound) shells (and heads and crushedlegs) of lobster, crayfish or shrimp
1 stalk celery
50 gr (½ cup) leeks (light green part)
250 gr (2 cups) chopped carrots
1 or 2 cloves garlic
½ tsp white peppercorns (crushed)
1 sprig thyme
1 small tin tomato purée (70 gr)
1 liter (4 cups) hot water
1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter
dash of cognac or brandy
Preparation in advance
Clean the shells well, rinse under the cold tap. Drain well, and pat dry.
Clean, wash and chop the vegetables (including garlic).
Heat olive oil in a pan that can stand a few scratches, fry the shells at a high temperature for a minute or so. Add cognac, take the pan from the fire and remove the shells. Set these apart. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, and put it back on. Add butter (or more oil) and fry the chopped vegetables for a minute or two. Add shells, herbs and spices, and hot water. Bring to the boil, skim if necessary, and let it simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
A concentrated stock like this one is often used in small quantities. Use an ice cube holder to freeze the stock. One cube equals one table spoon.
Do not forget to label your frozen stock, in the freezer all stocks look alike.
The best Dutch lobsters are found in the (former) estuary of the river Oosterschelde. On 4 June 2011 I was part of an excursion of SlowFood on the Oosterschelde that was about lobsters. See my (Dutch) blog for some pictures. I wnet home with the shells of eight lobsters, enough to prepare 3 liter lobster fumet and 280 gram lobster butter. On the left is a picture of the lobster fumet being prepared.
What is a bisque?
Today a bisque is generally a kind of soup prepared with the finely-ground shells of crustaceans. But originally bisque was an entrée (which in this context means a first course) in the French cuisine from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that could also be prepared with fish or meat. The seventeenth-century cook François la Varenne begins his chapter on Potages qui se peuvent faire pour servir en jours gras (soups that can be prepared to be served on meat days) with a Bisque de Pigeonneaux, a bisque of pigeons. The gritty structure is characteristic for bisques, and can also originate from the use of bread crumbs as thickening agent.
Fumet from lobster, crayfish or shrimp