Native lobster risotto with tarragon and chives

  • medium
  • 8
  • 1 hour 30 minutes

William Drabble's rich and luxurious lobster risotto recipe makes an elegant dish for a special occasion. The leftover claws and shells are used to make a rich and flavourful lobster stock for the risotto, providing a fantastic taste of the sea. If you are short on time feel free to use a good quality, shop-bought shellfish stock instead.

First published in 2015
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Lobster stock

Lobster risotto


  • Chinois
  • Meat mallet/tenderiser


To begin, place the lobsters in the freezer for half an hour until they are non-reactive. Once you are ready, bring a large pan of water to the boil for cooking the lobsters and prepare a large bowl of ice water to chill them once cooked
While the water is coming to the boil, place a heavy-based pan over a medium meat, add the olive oil and sweat the onions, carrots, celery, leek and garlic until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, cook off for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside
Once the lobsters are non-reactive and the water is boiling, place one lobster onto a chopping board. Use the tip of a large, sharp knife to cut down directly through the centre cross on top of the heads, following through all the way to the chopping board and cutting through the centre of the head. Repeat with the remaining lobsters
Pull the heads away from the tails and snap off the claws. Add the tails to the boiling water for 20-30 seconds until they start to turn red and curl up. Remove the tails from the pan and plunge straight into the bowl of ice water. Add the claws to the pan, bring back to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave the claws to cool in the liquid
Once cool, drain the tails and claws, remove and dice the meat and place in the fridge until required. Meanwhile, crush all of the leftover shells with a meat mallet or tenderiser
Reheat the sweated vegetables over a very high heat and, once hot, add the lobster shells. Continue to cook to achieve a golden-brown colour, then deglaze the pan with brandy. Cook for 1 minute or so until reduced, then add enough water to cover the shells. Add the thyme, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Add the tarragon, simmer for 3 minutes and remove from the heat. Leave to stand for 2 minutes, then pass through a fine chinois. Add 1.1l of stock to a clean pan and place over a low heat - this will be used to make the risotto
To cook the risotto, gently heat the olive oil and 25g of the butter in a heavy-based pan. Once hot, add the shallots and sweat until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and fry lightly, stirring continuously until translucent. Season lightly with salt and cayenne pepper
Add a ladleful of stock to the pan, stirring continuously until it has been completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process, one ladleful at a time, until all of the stock has been absorbed. Cook gently so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside - this process should take 10-15 minutes
Taste the risotto to check the seasoning and the texture of the rice - it should be soft with a slight bite. If you have used all of your stock and the rice is still too hard, add a splash of boiling water to finish
Once cooked to your liking, add the remaining butter, diced lobster meat and diced tomatoes. Stir well, place a lid on the pan and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Divide the risotto into bowls and garnish with tarragon and chives
First published in 2015

Beginning his career as an unpaid kitchen worker at the age of fourteen, William Drabble has steadily worked his way up to the position of Executive Chef at one of London's most prestigious hotels.

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