Sunday, May 22, 2011

5 heads to a pot of Creole Lobster soup!

In many old cultures, such as Chinese and Hawaiian, wasting food is frowned on. I usually try to use every usable parts in most of my cooking. Actually there is a lot of flavor in some of the “discards”.

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to a lobster boil and I took home the 5 extra heads that my friends didn’t want to venture with. 
I was allergic to shellfish as a child, but I was required to help picking crabs for our family restaurants during my late teen years whenever I was back in Singapore.  I didn't start eating seafood till I moved to Hawai'i. I learned to eat lobster at my friend, Matt's in MA. I still remember his mother taught me how to take apart a lobster like a REAL Bostonian!!
I was going to make stock and freeze it for later. However, the weather was a bit crazy here, we had pouring rain, then tornado warning, actual tornado touch down northeast of the house. I decided to stay home and make some soup. I was going make chowder; Mr. Wonderful seems to like heartier soup. However with the crazy storm, I couldn’t get out of the house! I also found a piece of kielbasa with the lobster heads… Hmmm sausage? Shellfish? Rice… Let’s cook a little Creole here.

Creole inspired leftover lobster soup
  • 6 cups lobster stock (or any seafood stock
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 1 garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic from a jar
  • 6" piece of spicy/smoky sausage your choice. cubed. (I use the leftover spicy kielbasa)
  • 2 stalk celery, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” cube
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs de province
  • ½ cup basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tsp ghee or butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup of lobster meat (or other seafood, such as lump crab meat)
  • ½ cup of lobster tomalley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish
Prepare 6 cups of lobster stock:
Break down 5 leftover heads; remove tomalley and body meat, reserve for later use.

Boil the shells in 8 cups of water for 3-4 hours over low heat
Strain and press on the shells to extract all the stock. Reserve

Prepare the vegetable and soup ingredients while making the stock.
Heat ghee with olive oil over medium high heat in the same pot you make the lobster stock if you want. I like using ghee instead of butter in my cooking. Ghee is clarified butter and it has a higher smoke point, it does not burn easily like butter and still give you that great rich flavor)
Sauté chopped garlic and onion, add crushed garlic.
Add sausage and brown lightly.
Add carrot and celery, sauté for a few mins. Add herbs de province; crush it lightly by hand, sauté for a couple of mins

Add rice, mix well. Let the rice toast for a min or so to develop some flavor.
Season with salt and pepper
Add 6 cups of stock, bring to a full boil. 
Cover. Reduce heat to med low, cook for about 20 mins till the rice is soft, the soup will thicken into a thin porridge consistency. Add lobster meat and tomalley. Heat thoroughly

Ladle in to a bowl. Garnish with chopped parley and serve.
(Serve 6 of Mr. Wonderful or 8 of me – 6 as entrée, 8 as starter)

You can easily adapt this recipe to other seafood, such as crab or fish. You don’t have to make the stock; you can use any seafood stock, such as clam, shrimp or fish. (Better than Bouillon is my preferred brand)
If you are using fish, put uncooked large pieces into the soup and let it cook directly in the liquid. I would also add a sprinkle of lemon juice and lemon zest to the garnish when serving.


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