Tag Archives: lobster chowder

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

Preparing for Setting Day
Eve of Setting Day in the Fishing Village of North Rustico, PEI, Canada

Living where we do, here in PEI, we have access to fresh local lobster and we make the most of it! The lobster fishery plays a major part in PEI’s economy and many people work in one of the many facets of this industry.

PEI Lobsters
Fresh Catch of the Day – PEI Lobsters

We are blessed on the Island with great food from the waters that surround our Island and from the rich red soil of our fertile land.

PEI Potatoes
PEI Potatoes

Combining foods from the sea and land, my recipe for Lobster Chowder features fresh lobster and potatoes, both foods for which PEI is known.  Some creamed corn, milk, cream, and a flavorful lobster stock make this a rich, decadent, and delectable chowder. Follow the step-by-step preparation and cooking directions to create a lobster chowder feast.

Bowl of chowder made with PEI Lobster and Potatoes
PEI Lobster Chowder

Lobster

A cooked lobster, about 1½ pounds, is required for this recipe.  This should yield about 7 – 8 oz of lobster meat needed for the chowder. However, that said, it is always hard to gauge exactly how well filled lobsters will be with meat. To be certain of having enough lobster meat, you may wish to buy a 2-pound lobster (or two one-pounders, about the size of the one shown in the photo below).

Steamed Lobster
Lobster in the Shell

Use lobster fresh from the shell for this chowder because the shells will be needed to make the lobster stock which is the flavorful base for the chowder. The cleaned out shells still have great flavor to them and that flavor is infused into the stock.

When cracking open the lobster, capture any juice that flows as this will enhance the flavor of the lobster stock.

How to Eat Lobster, PEI Style
Cracking Open the Lobster

Refrigerate the lobster meat immediately in a tightly covered container as it will not be used until the latter stage of the chowder making.

Making the Lobster Stock

Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach) (behind the eyes) from the lobster body along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a clean folded over towel.  Using a hammer or rolling pin, give the shells a few good whacks to break them up somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

Heat olive oil in a stock pot, then add the lobster shells along with the legs.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add the remainder of the ingredients.  Cover and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour or so to let the flavor of the stock develop.  Cooking the lobster shells in poultry stock (either chicken or turkey stock) will add a layer of flavor to the stock, more so than just simmering the shells in water. Strain mixture through a very fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Using lobster stock (as opposed to clam juice, for example) maintains the authenticity of the lobster chowder and does not introduce another seafood flavour. Besides, why buy a seafood broth or stock when it is quite easy to use the lobster shells you already have to make homemade stock.

Lobster, Potato, and Corn Chowder
PEI Lobster Chowder

Bouquet Garni

A good chowder benefits from some gentle seasoning.  For whole spices like star anise, peppercorns, and allspice, it’s best to contain them in a small sachet.  It beats having to fish around in the chowder to find small peppercorns and allspice or broken bits of star anise or bay leaf.

To make the bouquet garni, use a double layer piece of cheesecloth, about 6” square.  Place spices in center of cheesecloth, gather up the edges to form a little sack or sachet, and secure it with heavy thread.

This sachet will stay in the chowder during its entire cooking time and then will get removed and discarded before serving.

Making the Chowder

Sweating the aromatics (onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and red pepper) in butter draws out their moisture content and releases their flavor, developing a background flavour base for the chowder.  While the whipping cream and creamed corn called for in this recipe will help to thicken the chowder, sprinkling a bit of flour over the vegetables and then stirring in the lobster stock will also help to thicken the chowder.

Use waxy potatoes for chowder.  These would be potatoes like the red-skinned Norland variety, for example. Waxy potatoes are low in starch and will hold their shape better when cooked than will potatoes that have a high starch content. The goal here is to see small chunks of identifiable potato in the chowder.

A blend of whipping cream (35%MF) and whole milk makes this a rich and luxurious chowder.  The whipping cream helps to thicken the chowder meaning less flour is needed. The less flour that is used, the less likely the chowder will have a pasty, starchy taste. A small amount of dry white wine is added to the liquid base of the chowder to complement the lobster’s natural saltiness. It’s all about subtly layering in flavor.

The addition of 10oz of canned creamed corn imparts an element of subtle sweetness to the chowder and also helps to thicken it. If the chowder, however, is still not sufficiently thick for your liking, an additional small amount of flour may be added at this stage.  Be sure to mix it with some water or extra lobster stock and add some of the hot chowder to it to temper it before stirring it into the pot.  This will prevent the chowder from curdling or going lumpy.

One of my go-to seasonings in many dishes is dried summer savory.  Most commonly associated with poultry dishes, this herb is surprisingly versatile and can enhance seafood dishes, like this chowder, as well.

My fresh herbs of choice for this chowder are chives, thyme, dillweed, and parsley.  Not a lot of any of the herbs is needed but small amounts of each do impart an extra layer of flavor depth to the chowder. The key is not to add too much to overpower the dish.

As always, taste the chowder and add any salt and freshly cracked pepper to suit your taste.  Lastly, add the lobster meat and heat the chowder gently over low heat. The lobster is already cooked so it just needs to be heated.  If it was added earlier or cooked too long, it will break apart and lose its lobster flavor.

Tasty Lobster, Potato, and Corn Chowder in Bowl
Lobster Chowder

Serving and Garnishing the Chowder

Ladle the chowder into warm soup bowls.  Garnish with fresh herbs or, to be really luxurious, add a lobster claw to the center of each bowl of chowder.  Serve fresh rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread with this chowder and delight your favorite lobster lovers.

Lobster Chowder Served with Artisan Bread
Lobster Chowder

This chowder can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days. In fact, I think it is always better a day or two after it is made as the flavors have had a chance to mix and mingle to create a really flavorful chowder. To reheat, heat the chowder in the microwave or, alternatively, return chowder to a stockpot and reheat gently over medium-low heat.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

Ingredients:

1½ – 2 lb cooked lobster to yield apx. 7 – 8 oz meat (reserve shells and any juice from the lobster)

Lobster Stock:
Cleaned-out shells, juice, and the legs from cooked lobster
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3” chunk of celery, chopped
2” chunk of carrot, chopped
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 – 4 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley
3 cups poultry stock (chicken or turkey)
1/3 cup dry white wine

Bouquet Garni:
1 star anise pod
1 bay leaf
2 pepper corns
1 whole allspice

Chowder:
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots, finely diced
2 tbsp red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tbsp flour

2½ cups strained lobster stock (retain any excess stock to thin chowder if it becomes too thick)
1/3 cup dry white wine

1¼ cups waxy potatoes, such as the red-skinned Norland variety, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
½ – ¾ tsp dried summer savory
¾ cup whipping cream (35%MF)
¾ cup whole milk
1 – 10oz can creamed corn
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

2½ tsp fresh chives, chopped
1 – 1½ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
¾ tsp fresh dillweed, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 – 2 tbsp butter
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Method:

Lobster Stock:
Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach) (located behind the eyes) from the lobster body, along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a folded over clean towel. Using a hammer or rolling pin, break up the shells somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

To make the lobster stock, heat the olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add the lobster shells along with the legs. Cook for about 2 minutes then add any juice from the lobster along with the minced garlic, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, and sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley. Add the poultry stock and white wine. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour. Strain through a fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Bouquet Garni:
To make the bouquet garni, use a small piece (apx. 6” square) of double-layer cheesecloth. Place spices in centre of sachet. Gather up corners and tie with heavy thread.

Chowder:
Heat the butter in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to blend. Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. Gradually add 2½ cups of the lobster stock along with the white wine, stirring constantly to work out any lumps. Add the potatoes, the bouquet garni, and dried summer savory. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until potatoes are almost, but not quite, fork tender.

Combine the whipping cream and milk. Remove about 1/3 – ½ cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir into the milk to temper it. Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the creamed corn, and Parmesan cheese. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until mixture is heated. If mixture is not as thick as desired, mix an additional tablespoon of flour in 2½ tablespoons of water or some leftover lobster stock (if any). Add a tablespoon of the hot chowder to temper it and then stir into the chowder in the pot.

Add the lobster meat to the chowder along with the fresh herbs, and butter. Heat for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sprig of parsley and/or chopped chives. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, if desired. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread.

Yield: Apx. 4-6 servings

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PEI Lobster Chowder

Printable Recipe:

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

This made-from-scratch Lobster Chowder, filled with rich flavours combined with light seasonings, is sure to be a hit with lobster lovers.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword chowder, creamed corn, lobster, lobster chowder, potato
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1½ - 2 lb cooked lobster to yield apx. 7 – 8 oz meat (reserve shells and any juice from the lobster)

Lobster Stock:

  • Cleaned-out shells, juice, and the legs from cooked lobster
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 ” chunk of celery, chopped
  • 2 ” chunk of carrot, chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 – 4 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley
  • 3 cups poultry stock (chicken or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Bouquet Garni:

  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pepper corns
  • 1 whole allspice

Chowder:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • tbsp flour
  • cups strained lobster stock (retain any excess stock to thin chowder if it becomes too thick)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups waxy potatoes, such as the red-skinned Norland variety, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
  • ½ - ¾ tsp dried summer savory
  • ¾ cup whipping cream (35%MF)
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 – 10oz can creamed corn
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 – 1½ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp fresh dillweed, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

Lobster Stock:

  1. Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach (located behind the eyes) from the lobster body, along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a clean folded over towel. Using a hammer or rolling pin, break up the shells somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

  2. To make the lobster stock, heat the olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add the lobster shells along with the legs. Cook for about 2 minutes then add any juice from the lobster along with the minced garlic, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, and sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley. Add the poultry stock and white wine. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour. Strain through a fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Bouquet Garni:

  1. e To make the bouquet garni, use a small piece (apx. 6” square of double-layer cheesecloth. Place spices in centre of sachet. Gather up corners and tie with heavy thread.

Chowder:

  1. Heat the butter in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to blend. Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. Gradually add 2½ cups of the lobster stock along with the white wine, stirring constantly to work out any lumps. Add the potatoes, the bouquet garni, and dried summer savory. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until potatoes are almost, but not quite, fork tender.
  3. Combine the whipping cream and milk. Remove about 1/3 – ½ cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir into the milk to temper it. Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the creamed corn, and Parmesan cheese. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until mixture is heated. If mixture is not as thick as desired, mix an additional tablespoon of flour in 2½ tablespoons of water or some leftover lobster stock (if any). Add a tablespoon of the hot chowder to temper it and then stir into the chowder in the pot.
  4. Add the lobster meat to the chowder along with the fresh herbs, and butter. Heat for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sprig of parsley and/or chopped chives. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, if desired. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread.

Recipe Notes

Yield:  Apx. 4-6 servings

Note 1:  Chowder may be refrigerated up to two days.

Note 2:  Be sure to ready the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it contains additional details,  explanation, and tips for making this chowder.

Note 3:  Any leftover lobster stock can be labelled and frozen for a future use.

 

If you like lobster, you may also enjoy these other lobster recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Lobster and Asparagus Crepes
Lobster Frittata
Lobster Club Sandwich
Lobster Eggs Benedict
Lobster-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Lobster Croissants
Lobster Cakes