Hi everyone! It has been awhile without a weekend cooking post – but now that I am done with the wedding and moved into a new place I’m ready to get back to it. This post will be the first of a two part series, with the second part to follow next week.
One of the things that I love to do in the summer is go down to the shore and have some seafood from one of those pier-side shacks – hasn’t happened yet this summer. I’ve been dying to get in on one of those awesome New England clam bakes – maybe next year. So in an effort to at least get some seafood and the essence of the shoreline, I opened up my Mystic Seafood cookbook that I picked up at Mystic Seaport earlier this year. As it has been unseasonably cool here the last week or two I decided it would be totally acceptable to make a soup.
This part of the post is the stock portion for the recipe (which I didn’t make, I used a store-bought stock), and the follow up post will be the actual soup recipe.
And I’ll give you a hint…there is lobster involved!
So before we jump into the recipe, I wanted to look at the history of lobster fishing in New England. You know how it is pretty difficult today to get a decent sized lobster? Not so back in the 1700’s! A 5 pound lobster was not uncommon and anything less was thrown back or used in fertilizer. Lobster wasn’t even a food that was eaten by those who considered themselves to have any money. It was a food that was eaten by the poor and served to prisoners because lobsters were extremely plentiful, and thus, cheap!!! Cod and mackerel were the preferred fish commodity for the wealthy. Once the mass immigration to the United States began, lobster, seen as cheap foods, were used to feed the immigrant population – and thus, the demand rose and all of a sudden there was an industry for lobster! As the number of lobsters pulled from the sea rose, there were less and less to go around, the price went up, and then it was no longer a cheap food for the immigrants, but a dish for the wealthy!
Makes 3 Cups
3 lobsters, 1 pound each, or 8 bodies and shells
½ cup butter
⅓ cup dark rum or brandy
½ cup chopped leeks
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped shallots
¼ cup chopped carrots
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon fresh or dried herbs (tarragon, thyme, or chives)
3 cups lobster cooking liquid or 1 ½ cups water and 1 ½ cups chicken stock
⅓ cup tomato paste
1) If you are starting with live lobsters, boil them until just barely cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Drain, retain cooked liquid. Remove meat over a bowl, and retain both juice and meat. If you are starting with shells, pick any remaining meat out of the shells and set aside. Break or chop the shells into 1-2 inch pieces.
2) Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Take a handful of the shells and sauté them over low heat for 5 minutes, being sure not to burn the butter. Carefully add the rum or brandy and tipping the pan away from you slightly, touch a match to the liquid, flambé until the flame subsides.
3) Add the remaining shells, lobster bodies, leeks, celery, shallots, and carrots. Sauté the lobster butter until the vegetables are softened.
4) Add the white wine, the herbs, and the cooking liquid or the combination of water and chicken stock to cover, and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
5) Strain the lobster stock, discarding the vegetables and shells. Return the stock to the pot and whisk in the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, and reduce to about 3 cups.
Lobster stock in process. I didn't make this!
Photo credit: Home Grown.org
Sooooo….I didn’t make my own stock for several reasons.
1) I didn’t want to buy 3 lobsters and deal with all the shells etc. because of the cost
2) I would likely set my house on fire trying to flambé the rum/brandy
3) I don’t have over an hour to make just the stock part of a recipe – I used canned seafood stock
However, this does sound like a good stock recipe. Stay tuned for part two where I make…lobster bisque!
Have you made your own stock?
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Any post remotely related to cooking can participate.
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