Friday, July 10

LOBSTER AND CORN CHOWDER


A New England classic, this decadent lobster chowder evokes images of summers at the Maine shore - one of our happy places. Prepare this hearty chowder at the height of summer, when lobster and fresh corn are at their seasonal best. You can make this chowder in the wintertime, too – just use frozen corn! This is my go-to recipe when I want to impress a crowd. I hope you enjoy it as well. 

This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma. I’ve made it many times, and let me tell you, it can be a bit of a process, mostly from cracking all those lobsters. You can’t just buy pre-shucked lobster meat for this recipe because you need those shells to impart a deep, lobster flavor in the broth. Many grocery stores will steam them for you – and maybe even shuck them if you ask – so that can at least help cut out some of the work.

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Ingredients:
  • 2 live lobsters, each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb.
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine, or chicken stock
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels removed, kernels
  • and corncobs reserved
  • 3 bacon slices, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut
  • into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a large bowl filled with ice water and let cool completely. Remove the meat from the claws, knuckles, and tails. Reserve the shells and bodies and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.
2. In a large pot over high heat, warm the oil. Add the reserved lobster shells and bodies and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, wine and corncobs, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./ 625 ml), 25 to 30 minutes.
3. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and corn kernels and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the lobster-corn stock into the Dutch oven, add the cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in the potatoes, return to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in the lobster meat, salt, pepper, thyme, and chives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lobster is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
4. Ladle the chowder into warmed soup bowls then garnish with a bit of bacon and more chives. Serve immediately with crusty bread on the side. 
Serves 4 to 6. 

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