Lineage Lobster Chowder

Photo by Michael Piazza

Serves 4 as an appetizer

½ stick unsalted butter
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups lobster stock (see recipe below)
5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked off and reserved
1 cup heavy cream
4 slices bacon, crosscut into very thin strips
½ cup onion, diced small
½ cup celery, diced small
½ cup celeriac, diced small
½ cup parsnip, diced small
½ cup diced Yukon Gold potato
2 1¼ -pound lobsters, steamed, meat removed and diced
cup sherry, dry
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Chowder Base:
In a heavy-bottom saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to form a roux. Let the roux cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk in cold lobster stock one cup at a time. Add the thyme stems (not leaves) and let simmer for 45 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for another 10 minutes—being careful not to scorch the bottom. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and hold on the side.

While the stock is cooking, cook the bacon in a sauté pan over a medium heat until it is very crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve but leave the fat in the pan.

Add the diced vegetables to the pan and cook in the bacon fat until they start to lightly color (approximately 2 minutes). Drain off any excess fat and let the vegetables cool.

In a small pan simmer the diced potato in salted water until tender but not too soft. Once cooked, let cool and mix with the cooled vegetables, bacon and lobster meat.

To serve:
Warm the chowder base over a medium heat until just beginning to simmer; add the sherry and let simmer for 2–3 minutes, careful not to burn the bottom. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable mixture to a sauté pan and gently warm through; season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Divide the vegetable mixture between four warm soup bowls and pour the hot chowder base over the top. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top and serve.

Lineage Lobster Stock

Makes 1 gallon

I love to walk into the kitchen and smell the aroma of this great stock simmering. A staple in my kitchen, this stock has many applications. Try cooking grains and legumes in lobster stock—the result will amaze you. The ideal time to make stock is when you are using a recipe that calls for only tails and claws, and you have the lobster bodies leftover. Remember, you can freeze the stock in small amounts and only defrost what you need.

15 lobster bodies
1 cup fennel, 1-inch dice
2 cups onion, 1-inch dice
1 cup celery, 1-inch dice
1 cup carrot, 1-inch dice
1 bottle white wine
6 sprigs of thyme
1 head of garlic
3 cups chopped tomatoes (canned is OK if fresh are not available)
6 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
5 quarts cold water
½ cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cup tomato paste

Split the lobster bodies and remove the innards. All dark green roe (and any meat) should be saved for an alternate use.

Rinse the shells under cold water and cut into smaller pieces with a cleaver.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until lightly smoking. Add the lobster shells and stir frequently letting them cook for 4–5 minutes (do not burn). Add the vegetables and continue to cook for 6–8 minutes or until the vegetables begin to caramelize.

Stir in the tomatoes and white wine. Bring to a quick boil and add the remaining ingredients.

Bring back to a light boil and skim well. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2½ hours.

Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, making sure to press out extra moisture from the shells. Chill stock completely and store in the refrigerator for 2–3 days or freeze.

This recipe appeared in the Fall 2007 issue.