For months I had been longing to make my first lobster bisque dish. I saved the heads from fresh lobsters I bought at this great supply spot in Chinatown. The time had come for the culinary and entertaining challenge. I knew that it was a rich and complex dish to create and I stepped up to bat. This is my version one lobster bisque.

After making it the first time, my apprehension melted away. This dish screams luxury and expensive and the flavor reflects that, but when you boil it down, lobster bisque is just a glorified lobster stock. The heart of this dish is lobster; that is your expensive element. The heavy cream and cognac take it to upper echelon location and is well worth it.

If you like lobster, then you will love lobster bisque. Following a few basic steps, you can conquer the bisque and your friends will love you.

• 5 to 6 Lobster Heads, halved, cleaned but keep the juice
• 3 Medium Carrots, cut chunky
• 1 Large Leek, halved and sand removed
• 1 Large Onion, quartered
• 6 cups Chicken Stock, low sodium
• Thyme, bunch
• 1 Can Tomato Paste
• ½ cup Cognac or bandy (flip it up with some Grand Mariner)
• 5 Tablespoons Flour
• 4 Cups Heavy Cream
• 2 Tablespoons peppercorns

Take your largest pot and place it on a medium-high flame. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the lobster heads and the juices. Follow this with the carrots, leek, onion, thyme, peppercorns, and tomato paste. Place a lid on it and let the magic of science do its work for about 30 minutes. Don’t worry about burning; all the ingredients are releasing moisture, collecting on the bottom, and steaming everything.

The flavor is developing. After about 30 minutes, give it a good stir. Remove from the flame and carefully add the cognac or brandy. Light it up with a long match; the flame with burn off the alcohol. Sprinkle in the flour and then give it good stir. Return the pot to the flame. Now add the chicken stock and let that come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. It will reduce slightly.

Here comes the real transformation. Add the 4 cups heavy cream. Let this come to a boil and reduce to a casual, easy simmer. It’s going to rock for about 1 hour. Give it an occasional stir.

The most challenging portion of this dish is “passing” or straining the lobster shells and vegetables from the bisque. Traditionally you would use cheesecloth, but you can easily pick up a fine strainer. It’s going to take some time. It helps of you have big bowls and strain the bisque at least two times. This makes the final product smoother. You are aiming for a velvety texture. It’s worth it.