Recipe: lobster corn chowder
I’m wearing pants. PANTS! We’ve had cool, rainy weather this week in Colorado. Well, the cool isn’t such a reach for this time of year, but the rainy is. My oven and stove have seen more use in the past few days than they have all summer thanks to the cooldown. One of the recipes I tried recently was a knock-my-socks-off gem of a soup. I love it because it is at the intersection of summer and fall. Summer, because of the ingredients and fall, because it warms you from the inside to fight off the chill outside. I’m talking about lobster corn chowder.
two whole lobsters and two tails
extracting the lobster meat, saving the shells, and catching the juices
Because I reside in a landlocked state far far away from Maine, I bought frozen cold water lobsters. My fish monger only had two, and I needed three, so I supplemented with two petite lobster tails (also cold water). These were not cheap, so this is clearly a soup for special occasions or when lobsters grow on trees. I’m smiling at the thought of lobsters growing on trees. The thing I love about this recipe is how you use every part of the lobster – the meat and the shells and the dribbly juices. Makes me feel a little better about the price. Then the other main component is corn, which is dirt cheap right now and sweet as can be.
cream, wine, lobster meat, lemon, corn, celery, leek, bacon, potatoes, parsley, pepper
cut up the lobster meat
slice the green and white parts of the leeks (keep them separate)
What drew me to this recipe was the corn. I was looking around for corn recipes and this one appealed to me because lobster and corn are both sweet and seemed like a good pair. I’m not crazy for lobster the way some people are. Lobster is great and all, but my heart belongs to crab. Maybe it’s because I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay? In any case, the chowder has a number of steps to it, but they are all straightforward and quick… except for the stock which takes 40 minutes.
adding wine and water to the shells, leeks (green part), and lobster juices
while the stock simmers, strip the kernels from the cobs
dice the bacon
Strain the lobster stock twice if you can. First do a quick strain with a medium-mesh strainer to get all of the big pieces out. Then strain a second time through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure you catch all of the small particles like bits of shell or even sand.
the shells and leeks from the broth
straining through a fine-mesh sieve
I like to prep my ingredients while the stock simmers so that I’m ready to roll once the stock is ready. Another bonus part of this recipe? You only use one stock pot. After you are done straining your lobster stock, just rinse and dry the stock pot you were using and get ready to do some magic.
prepped: corn, lobster, cream, bacon, stock, celery, leeks (whites), lemon juice, parsley, potatoes
adding leeks (whites), celery, and pepper to the fried bacon
stir in the potatoes
and add the broth
Give the potatoes some time to cook until they are tender, about ten minutes. Then you get into a pattern of adding X and simmer for 3 minutes until there is nothing left to add to the soup.
in goes the corn
and some cream for… creaminess
stir in the lemon juice and parsley
The lobster stock really makes this soup. It’s heady with such depth of flavor. It smells like the sea – fresh and salty, but clean. While you will be tempted to gobble it down as soon as it is ready off the stove, I think the flavors are even better after one day of melding together in the refrigerator. So perhaps you’ll want to save some for leftovers. This is a chowder you’ll want to savor as long as you can.
serve with bread
garnish with extra lobster pieces, bacon crumbles, and parsley
now to dig in!
Lobster Corn Chowder
from The Boston Globe
3 cooked whole lobsters, 1.5 lbs. each, in shells (I used 2 whole lobsters and 2 petite tails)
1 large leek, white and green parts separated, sliced
1 cup white wine
9 cups water
6 oz. thick-cut bacon, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
black pepper to taste
5 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ears corn, kernels only
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juice of
2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
If your lobsters are not cooked: The Maine Lobster Council has excellent instructions on how to boil or steam your lobsters.
Set a colander over a bowl and break down the lobsters. Remove the meat from the shells and let all of the juices collect in the bowl. Save the shells in the colander. Chop the lobster meat into bite-size pieces, cover, and refrigerate. In a large stock pot, place the shells, the collected juices, the green part of the leek, wine, and water over high heat. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove all solids including grit or tiny bits of shell. Rinse and wipe the stock pot clean. Render the bacon for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the white part of the leek, celery, and black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes then add the potatoes and the lobster stock. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn and simmer another 3 minutes. Add the lobster and cream, and simmer for 3 more minutes. Stir in the lemon and parsley. Serves 6-8.
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