Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 30-Lobster Soup with Puff Pastry

Today was the grand finale, the last day of my 30 Days of Soup. This blog was more than just about making soups, but also about going outside my comfort zone. Before taking on this challenge, I had never made a crab chowder or shrimp tempura, and today I really pushed myself by killing a whole lobster.

The weight of making this soup rested heavily on my shoulders. Not only was I making soup for 7 people, but I was also working with an expensive ingredient, fresh lobster.

My mother-in-law and I bought the lobster at a grocery store, and these babies were fresh, since they were just flown in from Maine yesterday. I placed it in the fridge when we got back to her house, and I contemplated how I would kill it humanely. I consulted a few websites, and most advocated splitting down the middle with a knife while it is still alive. But I couldn't even pick it up with my bare hands. I had to get my brother-in-law to come and help me put it in the boiling water.

After letting it boil for a few minutes until it turned fire engine red, I removed the lobster and rinsed it under cold water. I removed the claws and picked out the meat, and then I split the body from the tail. Being a lobster rookie, I was unprepared for the massive amounts of gushing green liquid that spewed from it's body, painting both the wall and floor. A shriek of horror came from my mouth as I stared at the mess I created, but my mother-in-law is so good natured it didn't bother her a bit.

I successfully removed the meat, and prepared a stock with the leftover shell and legs. I wanted to cover the soup completely with puff pastry, but we didn't have any oven proof bowls, so I made little puff pastry rounds to be placed on top. I have included instructions on how to cover the soup in puff pastry if you are interested in trying that version. This recipe was supposed to be a stew, but I increased the amount of stock used to make it more like a soup.

Lobster Soup
Source: Food Network
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
1 to 1 1/3 pounds cooked lobster meat, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup sherry wine, preferably medium-dry, preferably amontillado
1 cup lobster stock, (or fish stock)
1 1/4 cups light cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons minced fresh chives


In a medium-size deep skillet or heavy saucepan, cook the onion in the butter over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked lobster meat and toss to coat with the butter. Pour in the sherry and bring to a boil. Add the lobster stock, and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the light cream and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring just to a boil. Immediately ladle into soup plates and garnish with the chives and puff pastry round or cover completely with puff pastry.

Puff Pastry Directions
1 lb puff pastry sheets

Preheat oven to 450 F. Roll out your pastry dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 4 circles slightly larger than you serving bowls or ramekins. Divide the soup between the four bowls. In a small bowl beat the egg. Brush the beaten egg on the pastry circles. Place the pastry, egg side down, on each bowl pulling a little to make it taut. Gently brush the top of the pastry with more egg being careful not to push it into the soup. Place the bowls on a baking sheet & then into the oven. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed & golden (don't open your oven too early or the pastry might fall.)

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