This amazing chowder tastes like the sea-side! It makes a meal on its own with a buttered roll. You can make it stove top or in your slow cooker. The lobster and the sherry make it elegant enough to serve as a casual holiday meal.
I was inspired by Ina Garten’s Lobster Chowder but frankly 3 lbs of lobster in my land-locked community not-in-season was going to cost A LOT! So I decided to improvise because that luscious photo that is all over Pinterest was stuck in my head!
It is common to simmer your seafood shells to make your stock but I had never thought of simmering the corn cobs too and it really does add a depth of flavor. If corn is not in season you won’t be able to do that but check out how you can preserve fresh corn next year when it is in season to use for occasions like this !
So if all the planets align for you and corn and lobster are in season this will be over-the-top amazing! It will still be awesome even if you can only add frozen corn.
I have to say, by boiling the lobster shells the stock is dominated by the lobster flavor, so adding the other seafood types adds variety but the dish still retains the signature lobster flavor hit.
The recipe makes a lot and with the amount of seafood it is like a juicy stew almost. If you reduce the servings I would suggest reducing the type or amounts of seafood but leave the stock portion alone.
Here is a little story that goes with this….. You know that old saying not to serve a new dish to company? Well, I have never gone by that. Au contraire – I see entertaining as an opportunity to try something new and interesting. Most of the time it works out quite well. There have been some notable exceptions (something I called Mumbo Jumbo on the spur of the moment as I was serving it up). This dinner party the star attraction- the chowder, thank goodness, was wonderful. It was the supporting dinner rolls that I had such high hopes for that went rogue.
I made them with lemon juice, lemon zest and some fresh dill, expecting a divine combination with the chowder. I thought they looked divine…. How wrong I was…. As I was pulling them apart to transfer to a serving basket it became clear the inside was far from done. How to recover? I still don’t know.. I had baked them and cooled them so when I tried to put them back in the oven to finish cooking it wasn’t working … by the time I thought they were finally cooked -some 30 minutes more – each roll was a one pound ball that you could have used for baseball. Still not to be deterred…we tried to persevere with warm butter and pulling them apart. It totally did not work…totally-did-not-work.
The lesson I learned is – there are no shortcuts to the perfect fluffy roll. I have seen a number of recipes lately that increase the yeast and reduce the rise time.. as if more yeast will work faster. I have tried a pizza dough based on this premise and now these rolls. Well, in my opinion this technique is misguided. The extra yeast doesn’t really give extra rise in a short time… what does happen is the yeast continues to work after you ingest the baked rolls or crust and causes significant digestive discomfort. I have to admit I am embarrassed it took me two tries to come to the conclusion. So… stay tuned … when I have those lemon, dill rolls perfected I will definitely post the recipe.
In the meantime- enjoy this chowder and you can serve it with these tried and true dinner rolls. It is elegant enough to serve for a casual holiday meal and lobster does become available in December and January. Lobster winter prices are typically higher than summer unless a chain is running a promotion, which does happen here in Ontario. February to March/April when the water is coldest the lobster are not very active and the weather is wild so there is much less lobster fishing going on then. The best time to buy lobster is apparently May and June. Lobsters are at their fattest and firmest at this time of year and summer resort pricing has not yet kicked in. (This according to lobsteranywhere.com.)
Did you know that Canada accounts for more than 60% of lobster landings (the pounds of lobsters harvested by commercial lobstermen from their traps)? And Canada accounts for more than 50% of the world’s total lobster supply?
When I was serving this to my guests my kitchen was fully engaged in a Beef Bourguignon making session so I made the stock on the stove top and then transferred it to my slow cooker with the potatoes and vegetables. I cooked it on low about 4 hours and put the seafood in only for the last hour. It was perfect and you can keep it warm for seconds or for a gang that is coming and going.
I also served this with a Domaine du Vieux Chai Sur Lie Muscadet Sevre & Maine 2014, LCBO #200048 $14.95. See the tasting notes here. It was clean and crisp and perfect with the seafood.