New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and a lobster dinner is a perfect way to ring in the New Year. Lobster is often thought of as a sophisticated dish that we only have on special occasions…birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. Since I want to make a special meal for one of the most celebrated evenings all over the world, I’m preparing lobster this year.
In some parts of the world, lobster is considered a luxury. In New England, lobsters are plentiful and are often on sale. During the summer, a lobster bake with boil potatoes and corn on the cob is very common. But seeing how it is winter, I wanted something that would be warm and comforting. The words comforting and special don’t seem to go hand in hand when talking about food but that is exactly what I’m making…a comforting lobster pot pie that is very special.
You are going to look at the list of ingredients and say that it is too much work. It really isn’t and many steps can be done ahead of time.
Lobster Pot Pie
Stock (Makes 1 cup and can be increased for more pies)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 c. fennel stalks, chopped (save some of the fronds for garnish)
- 1/4 c. celery, chopped
- 1/4 c. carrot, chopped
- 1/4 c. leek or onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 8 oz. bottled clam juice
- 8 oz. water
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig parsley
Bring all ingredients to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced to about 1 cup or a little more. Strain the broth, discarding the aromatics, then taste and season with a pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne. Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare your favorite pie crust for a one crust pie. Roll out, cut into decorative shapes. I use a 4 inch fluted tart pan as a cutter and then cut in half with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves and coarse sea salt. Press into the dough and brush with a little cream or egg wash. Bake until golden brown (approx. 5 min.). Cool on a wire rack. (Can be prepared the day before and kept in an airtight container).
Pot Pie (Serves two and can be increased)
- 1/2 c. fresh fennel, diced
- 1/2 c. onion, diced
- 1/2 c. potatoes, cubed to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size
- 1/2 c. carrots, diced
- 1/2 c. pearl onions (I use frozen)
- 1/2 – 3/4 lb. of lobster meat (knuckle and claw)
- 1 c. stock (see above)
- 1/2 c. half and half or light cream
- 2 Tbsp. butter plus 2 Tbsp. additional butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fennel fronds, chopped for garnish
Cook the potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions in boiling, salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside. Sauté the fennel and onion in 2 Tbsp. of butter until soft. Add the cooked potatoes, carrots and pearl onions, and sauté for several minutes until vegetables just start to color. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add 2 Tbsp. of butter to sauté pan, add flour and cook several minutes to make a blonde roux. Slowly add stock, stirring until combined and smooth. Add the half and half and simmer for one minute. Add the vegetables, lobster, and tarragon. Simmer just until lobster is warmed through. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little milk. Serve in bowls, top with decorative crust and garnish with chopped fennel fronds.
Dim the lights, pour champagne, and enjoy this comforting but decadent meal. The flavor of the dish is exquisite. I encourage you to make a lobster pot pie. If not for New Year’s Eve, then for some other time when you want a special dish…be it an intimate, romantic dinner for two or a dinner party for friends.
P. S. Since posting, this recipe has been named “Recipe of the Year” by Wineguys Radio and TV. They also named Back Road Journal “Best Food Blog of the Year”. To top it all off, they invited me to be on their radio show to talk about the recipe. A perfect way to end the year. If you get a chance, stop by their blog, Wineguysradio.com.