The season of sun, sand, and swimming may have past already – heck, it’s long gone here with light snow in the forecast tonight – but there is nothing saying that you still can’t find decent lobster in the seafood markets or even your own grocery store this time of year. Here in New England, the Maine lobster season typically runs through December (though we can typically find lobster year-round) and California is in the midst of its spiny lobster season right now (which opens in early October and runs through mid-March). And while prices this time of year can never rival the $8.99/lb you’ll find mid-summer in those ramshackle side-of-the-road lobster stands on the coastline roads of Maine or the Cape, I see no issue with foregoing a few dinners out to splurge on some lobster.
And since it is the season of soup, how about using some of that precious lobster in this lobster corn chowder? Go ahead, make yourself feel like a New Englander – lobster in your chowder will do that to you. You’ll make a quick stock with the picked lobster shells and in about 1 hour, you’ll have lobster corn chowder – it’s really that easy! If you can’t find fresh lobster, see if you can find frozen (sometimes you can even find cooked frozen lobster which is a real gem!) and if fresh corn is out of the question for this time of year, use frozen corn (about 1 1/2 cups) and stir in a couple tablespoons of flour into potato-onion-celery-corn mixture before you add the stock to the pot to help thicken the soup.
This chowder is definitely in the top 5 of our favorite soups and I think what I love so much about it (aside from the lobster of course) is the sherry that rounds out the chowder so beautifully. It adds this extra level of flavor and warmth that you can’t get from salt and it almost makes the soup feel silky. I know many soup days are ahead of us as we head into winter and I suggest you add this chowder to your list of must-makes.
source: adapted from Back to Basics by Ina GartenIngredients:
- 3 (1 1/2lb) cooked lobsters
- 3 ears of corn
For the stock:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup cream sherry
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 4 cups milk (skim works fine)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup dry white wine
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, large-diced
- 2 cups large-diced unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (2 medium)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cups diced celery (3 to 4 stalks)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup cream sherry
- Remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters. Cut the meat into large cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs separately.
- For the stock, melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the lobster shells and corncobs. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and corn cobs and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes. (I move the pot halfway off the heat.)
- Meanwhile, in another stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the potatoes, onions, celery, corn kernels, salt, and pepper to the same pot and saute for 5 minutes. When the stock is ready, remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and the corn cobs with tongs and discard. Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes and corn. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the cooked lobster, the chives and the sherry and season to taste. Heat gently and serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon.