It’s Lobstah Stew!
by Kristy Gherlone
If you’ve ever been to a social function in Maine, chances are, there was plenty of food.
People come in droves, toting tupperware and casserole dishes filled to the brim with steaming, aromatic dishes to share. Cake carriers, tinfoil covered pans, and plates heaped high with cookies march in on parade.
Everything is set out on rows of tables. The hot and cold dishes on one, along with the homemade breads and rolls, and the deserts on a smaller table off to the side.
People visit with one another while they’re waiting for the food to be served. They talk on and on about ailments and weddings, babies and break-ups, until it gets so loud in there everyone has to shout to be heard! Everyone hears the announcement, though, that, “Dinner is ready! Come and get it.”
Inevitably, during the meal, through all that gossiping, silverware clanking, and chewing, someone will call out,”This (such and such dish) is delicious! How did you make it?”
Well, there are two things Mainers do well, cooking and gossiping. Unless, it’s gossiping about a cherished family recipe. So the quick answer to ‘how did you make it?’ will be a haughty, “Oh, a little of this, a little of that.”
If you can pin down the chef of a favorite recipe, and they like you well enough, you might get, “a pinch of this, but not too much, mind you, and a couple-few teaspoons of that.” A navy drill-sergeant couldn’t get a prized recipe out of an old-school Mainer!
Lobster Stew is one of those recipes. While most people’s recipes don’t vary all that much, there are some slight differences and they want you to know that theirs has distinction, and boy oh boy their lips are sealed!
Oh, and God forbid, please don’t confuse Lobster Stew with a chowdah. It ’tain’t the same ‘tall!
So having said all of that, I’m going to make things easy for you, and share my recipe with out too many pinches and smidges nonsense.
Family of 4 recipe
Steam 3-4 lobsters.
When cooled to touch, break them down, being careful to save the claw juice when you’re cracking them open. (This is very important.) Set the juice aside in a cup to add in later.
Cut lobster into bit-sized chunks, but save a few bigger claw pieces for appearance.
Throw the pieces into frying pan with a stick of butter, the juice you saved, some salt(to taste), pepper and paprika. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add about 3 tablespoons of cooking sherry. Cook about 2 more minutes and throw in some fresh parsley.
Throw about 4 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream into a sauce pan. Cook until scalded, but not boiling. (little bubbles will form on the sides.)
Add in the lobster-butter mixture. Stir well and let it sit for a few hours to soak up the flavor.
*Now, if you didn’t save the juice, (like I told you), you can always buy Bar Harbor’s Lobster juice. It comes in a glass bottle and you can get it at Hannaford’s. It will work the same, but it won’t be authentic!
So there we have it! Just don’t ask me for my Yummy Cake recipe, cause I ain’t sharing.