This was our first Christmas in the Parker Haus and the first Christmas that Matt wouldn’t see his family. We thought it was important to each bring some traditions from our respective families into our haus. Even though we have a haus, my background is French Canadian (Matt’s is decidedly German) and my traditions are heavily influenced by growing up in the northeast corner of the US. My family tradition is Christmas Eve dinner. Whenever it is possible we have lobster stew (made with fresh Maine lobsters) and a French Canadian meat pie or tourtière for Christmas Eve dinner. The meat pie (as we call them) is a traditional Christmas Eve meal and includes ground pork, beef, spices, and potatoes (mashed). Our recipe has been in our family for generations and is particularly vague. Mom helped me out this year and made the meat pie and brought it for dinner.
That left me with the lobster stew.
Preparations began on the 23rd when two chick (1 lb) lobsters arrived at my door overnighted from Maine. Usually I would get them from the tank at the market but we got a lobster-gram gift card for a wedding gift, so what the heck- fly me a lobster!
Lobsters can survive for a day or two out of the water if packed with a moist cloth on ice. Lobsters should be alive when you cook them for best taste. If a lobster is not alive when it arrives but is still cool and on ice some people say you can cook them- but my rule of thumb is they got to be kicking when you drop them in the pot.
I had a stare-down with the lobstah… you know to psych it out.
Into the pot he goes
I made Matt put this one it because his antennae were super long- I am super squeamish about the antennae.
And we boiled them (with beer, of course, the secret to yummy lobster) for 10 minutes.
Not wanting to burn my fingers I let them chill-ax in a bowl while they cooled.
I went to work picking out all the meat. In addition to the claw and tail meat I also harvest a bit of meat from the bodies. Next time you are having lobster at a fancy restaurant I challenge you to do two things
- Most importantly, tell the waiter “DO NOT CUT THE SHELL”. They do this to make it easier for you to remove the meat but in reality all it does is dry out your lobster.
- After you have done the claws and tail go for the body. Per the instructions below, unhinge the shell from the body. Crack the body in two to expose lots of meat hidden between ribs of cartilage. If it looks and feels feathery (usually down near the legs) it is book lung and not meat so don’t eat it.
Back to my lobsters… I had an audience while I was cleaning the lobsters. I saved the fin meat and meat from the tiny legs for my furry friends.
My silent beggar
My not-so-silent beggar
All the meat goes into the pot with some butter over low heat. Stir constantly for 10 minutes.
It’s important that the butter take on an orange color as pictured here.
Slowly stir in heated milk, stirring constantly. Really, the secret to this recipe is in the stirring.
Refrigerate at least 6 hrs (48 hrs is preferred, but overnight will do)
Serve with crusty bread (and beer- that’s how we roll). Bon Appétit!
Serves 1 person. Multiply the amounts below for each person you are serving
- (1) one pound lobsters (chick) per person
- (2) tablespoons of butter
- (1) cup of whole milk
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare at least 6 hours in advance. Fill a large pot with water (be sure to allow room for when you add the lobsters so your pot doesn’t overflow) bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Drop your lobsters into the pot (upside down is best) once it comes back to a rapid boil start timing. If your lobsters weigh 1 lb they will take 8-10 minutes to be done (consult the internet for cooking times for other size lobsters). If you can easily pull off an antenna (ewwe!) they are done. Let cool before cleaning the lobsters of all their meat.
Melt butter in heavy pot over low heat. Tear the lobster meat into small chunks and add to the pot. Stir constantly for 10 minutes. The butter should become orange. Take off the heat while you heat the milk in a sauce pan over low heat. Slowly, very, very slowly pour the milk into lobster and butter mixture stirring constantly. Cover and put in the refrigerator to for at least 6 hrs- preferably 12-48 hrs.
When ready to serve, slowly reheat on the stove until heated through. Spoon into bowls and serve with a crusty bread.