Seafood Extravaganza Part 2: New England-Style Lobster Chowder

  • 2 live 1-pound chicken lobsters
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 ounces slab country bacon
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions (10 oz), cut into 3/4″ dice
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 pound Maine or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives and/or parsley for garnish
  1. Parboil the lobsters (page 30). Let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the tails, knuckles and claws, cut into large (3/4- to 1-inch) pieces, cover and refrigerate.  Split the carcasses in half and discard the head sacs.  Remove the roe if there is any, chop it and add it to the lobster meat.  Leave about half of the tomalley in the body to flavor the stock.  Reserve the rest for Tomalley Toasts (page 88) or discard. (Too much tomalley will make the broth bitter. Place the shells and carcasses in a 6- to 8-quart pot and cover with 2 quarts water, bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, pick the leaves off the thyme and add just the stems to the stock.  Also add the peppercorns and bay leaves. Trim the rind from the bacon and add the rind to the stock. Cut the bacon into 1/2 dice. Turn down the  heat and simmer for 1 hour. Lightly salt the stock and taste for strength. Simmer for up to 30 minutes more if needed. Strain the stock. You should have 3 to 4 cups.
  3. Fry the Bacon in a heavy 4-quart soup pot over medium heat until crisp and browned and most of the fat has been rendered. This will take about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat, leaving the bacon in the pot.  Add the butter, onions, and thyme leaves. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions are tender but not browned. Stir in the paprika. Add the potatoes and enough stock to cover them (about 3 1/2 cups; add a little water if you do not have enough stock).  Turn up the heat and boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  This hard cooking will break up some of the potatoes so that their starch is released and the chowder becomes slightly thickened. Remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Add the lobster meat and heavy cream. Season with salt (very little will be needed) and pepper. Let the chowder sit off the heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you let it sit longer than 1 hour, cover and refrigerate it. You can make this a day in advance if desired.
  5. Reheat the chowder, check the seasoning, and divide evenly among 4 large soup plates. Sprinkle with chives and serve at once.

Yield: 4 as a main course or 8-10 as a starter

From: Lobster at Home by Jasper White

Gray: This was delicious and we got rave reviews from our guests.  Although it takes a couple of hours to put together, It was not difficult to make, most of that time is just letting things simmer.  We had a couple of slight variations on the recipe to accommodate our ingredients.  I doubled the recipe, and we only had claw shells for the stock and claw meat for the chowder. At the very end, I forgot to garnish with the parsley and chives, which I think would have been nice, but did not take away from the dish.  I was a little surprised at the size of the dice on everything, but it made for a very hearty chowder.  I would definitely make this one again!

Katie: This was great! It was not as thick as I had thought it would be, but tasted good and you got chunks of lobster! Yay! We had originally planned to make lobster bisque, but after reviewing the recipe, decided to make lobster chowder due to time and money that would have been required. I think everyone was pleased with the lobster chowder!

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4 Responses to Seafood Extravaganza Part 2: New England-Style Lobster Chowder

  1. Judy Booth says:

    I must be terribly ignorant. Just what is a “Chicken” Lobster?

  2. Judy Booth says:

    Never mind, google works just fine.

    • Judy, we didn’t know what a chicken lobster was until we went to Maine last year. Just to clarify for other readers who don’t know, a chicken lobster is a small lobster, usually one pound or less. We found that it seemed like the smaller lobsters had shells that were not as hard to crack. For me, it was a much easier process to eat the smaller lobsters.
      -Katie

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