Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Many of us will be eating turkey this week. But if you are in New England, you should consider at least starting the meal with lobster.
I was born and raised a Southern gal, but I moved to New England many years ago and have adopted some delicious Yankee recipes over the years.
Northern folks love their chowders. The ubiquitous clam chowder, corn chowder, lobster, fish, you get the idea. Corn chowder, as I understand, is a very inexpensive way to fill your belly and load up with some fat to help you survive the winters up here. My family turned to beans, rice and slaw in the lean times, and my in-laws pour a bowl of corn chowder.
That being the case, my dear husband was horrified at my suggestion that we add corn to lobster chowder. I believe he called it an abomination. Strong words, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. And with shedders aplenty at $3.99/pound, we can officially call this a pennywise recipe. (In fact, my dad wrote from home to inform me that lobsters in my adopted state are less than bologna.)
Feel free to substitute your favorite local seafood for the lobster. If you're in Maine, buy some bugs! But wherever you are, have a happy Thanksgiving.
We partook in a lobster supper for 12 right before we made this, so we had leftover steamed lobster on hand. However you like to cook your lobster, do that first.
3 1-1/4-lb soft-shelled lobsters, steamed
1 lb creamer/fingerling potatoes, in 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup frozen or canned whole kernel corn
1 medium (golf ball sized) shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
6 cups water, approximately
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup light cream
2 teaspoons dry thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Crack lobsters and remove tail, claw, and knuckle meat and set aside, reserving shells. Chop tail and knuckle meat into bite-sized pieces. Keep claws intact.
Make the stock
Remove legs and roughly chop into two to three pieces. Remove carapace (top shell) from bodies and discard. (Keep the tomalley and/or roe to spread on toast, if that’s your thing.)
Rinse lower body thoroughly, and roughly chop to open up meat cavities. Put all shells/legs/bodies into a small soup pot or dutch oven. Add enough water to cover.
Add wine and boil hard until stock has reduced by one third to 4 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain through fine strainer and discard shells.
Alternately, use 4 cups lobster stock, fish stock, or 1:1 clam juice and water. But this way is better, cheaper and pretty simple.
Make the chowder
In the same stock pot, sauté shallot in butter until just soft and reduce to medium heat. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking each until incorporated. Cook roux until light brown and bubbling slightly.
Add stock (preferably still hot) 1 cup at a time, whisking. Bring to boil, add potatoes. Simmer potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add corn, lobster, cream, and thyme. Return to simmer, long enough to heat everything through. Salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls, and garnish each with one claw and a pinch of chives. Serves six.
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