There’s nothing like a driving rain and gale force winds to stimulate one’s appetite for a hot chowder. Just imagine the comfort of wrapping your hand around a warm mug and inhaling the earthy, steamy aroma of the broth. With your spoon, slowly savor the creamy taste on your tongue, gently chew the perfectly cooked morsels, and feel the heat radiating down to your belly.
No matter what the weather, any recipe that makes you feel like that is a good cup of chowder. Which is why cooking is so much fun; it’s both an art (of feeling what will taste and feel good), and a science (of what works).
The recipe for Maine Lobster & Corn Chowder elevates a favorite comfort food, Corn Chowder, to luxury status. Most corn chowders get their creaminess from canned creamed corn and canned milk. In Maine Lobster & Corn Chowder, I cooked frozen corn kernels and cubed potato with clam juice, then pureed about 1 cup of the mixture in the blender.
The result was the same, creamy texture of canned corn, without the extra chemical additives. Replacing the canned milk with cream did the same thing. That’s the art of cooking with real food.
The lobster meat I used was frozen, as a wealth of summer visitors leaves us with plenty of leftovers. Five pounds of lobsters cooked and picked will yield about one pound of meat. Gently cooking the lobster in butter before adding to the chowder preserves the texture of the meat. Aging the stew, if you can wait, only improves the flavor.
MAINE LOBSTER & CORN CHOWDER
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat or fat of your choice
- 2 cups diced onions
- 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes about 1 pound
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups cream
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Fresh pepper to taste
- Heat the bacon fat in a heavy soup pot. Stir in the diced onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the diced potatoes, stir and sauté for a minute or so.
- Add the clam juice, bay leaf and frozen corn kernels. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove about 1 ¼ cup of the mixture and puree in the blender. Return the pureed chowder to the pot.
- Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the lobster meat. Gently sauté, stirring to coat with the butter until the lobster is warm and the butter turns a nice, golden orange.
- Add the 2 cups cream to the chowder base and gently heat the mixture to a simmer. Add the lobster mixture and simmer for another few minutes.
- Remove from heat; add the chopped fresh parsley and season to taste with fresh pepper. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
- To reheat: warm gently in a heavy soup pot, stirring frequently, until it just starts to simmer. Ladle into heated bowls and enjoy.