Carl Cleghorn - Thornbury Castle Butter poached lobster, carrot and orange


This recipe was a mouth-watering Butter Poached Lobster with Carrot & Orange by Carl Cleghorn, new Executive Chef at Thornbury Castle near Bristol.  Carl opted to cook this recipe as it has proved a long-standing favourite on any menu it graces.

“The inspiration for the dish came from my brother Chris, Head Chef at Michelin-starred Olive Tree Restaurant in Bath. The freshness and cleanness of the flavours marry very well with the sweetness of the lobster.  There will be a rich aromatic flavour as the heritage carrots bring sweetness to balance with the lobster, accompanied by the aromatic lobster bisque which adds richness.”

Butter poached lobster, carrot and orange


• 500g lobster carcasses

Lobster bisque
• 500g lobster carcasses
• 185ml blended olive oil
• 50g carrots (chopped small)
• 50g onion (chopped small)
• 50g fennel (chopped small)
• 2g whole white peppercorns
• 2.5g coriander seeds
• 2 star anise
• ¼ garlic head cut in half
• 2.5g cumin seeds
• 2.5g cardamom seeds
• 125g chopped plum tomatoes
• 15g tomato puree
• 25ml Cognac
• 100ml water
• 2.5g salt
• ¼ bay leaf
• 1 sprig of thyme

Poached carrot
• 500g lobster carcasses

Pickled Carrot
• 1 carrot• 260g water
• 3g white wine vinegar 
• 2g coriander seeds (toasted)
• 3g whole white peppercorns
• 4g salt
• 4g sugar
• ½ x bay leaf
• 1 x clove of garlic (crushed)


Lobster preparation
1. Boil a large pot of water.
2. Place the lobster in the Crustastun to dispatch.
3. Cut through the head and remove from the tail (retain the head for the bisque).
4. Remove the claws and intestine from the tail.
5. Place a metal skewer down the back of the lobster tail.
6. Poach the lobster tail for 3 minutes, claws for 5 minutes and legs for 2 minutes.
7. Remove and place in an ice bath.
8. Remove the tail from the shell by lightly squeezing in the palm of your hand and peel away.
9. Separate the claw and knuckle and extract the meat.
10. Slice the lobster tail in half and place in a vac pac bag with a cube of butter with 1 claw, knuckle and 4 legs.
11. Pre heat a water bath to 57°C and poach the lobster for 8 minutes.

Lobster bisque
1. Place a roasting tray or saucepan on the stove and heat 100ml of olive oil.
2. Add the lobster carcasses, roast well, then remove from the heat and deglaze with the cognac.
3. In a separate pan, sweat the carrots, onions, fennel and garlic in the remaining 200ml of olive oil for 10 minutes, to colour. Add the spices, fresh tomatoes, herbs and sweat for a further 5 minutes.


4. Add the tomato paste and water, cook out for a further 10 minutes and add the carcasses.
5. Add the water to below the top of the carcasses and bring to the boil. Simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
6. Pass through a colander and then through a chinois. Reduce till flavour intensifies.
7. Top the carcass up with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Strain through a colander and sieve. Reduce until it’s thick and glossy.

Poached carrot
1. Lightly scrub the carrots to remove any dirt but retain the carrot top for garnish.
2. Place the carrots in the orange juice, bring to the boil and then simmer for 8-10 minutes until cooked through.
3. Keep in the juice to keep warm until needed.

Pickled carrot
1. Toast the coriander seeds and place with rest of ingredients
2. Bring to the boil, then cling film and infuse for 10 minutes & then pass
3. Peel and thinly slice the carrot length ways on a mandolin, bring the pickle back to the boil and then place the carrot straight in and remove from heat, cling film and leave to cool 

To finish
1. Place the lobster in a water bath at 57°C for 8 minutes.
2. Remove from bag and plate.