Lobster stew is a creamy soup or stew made with lobster meat. A traditional dish in Maine, and popular in seaport towns, lobster stew may just include lobster, butter, and cream, or it may contain additional spices and vegetables. Lobster stew can be found in many seafood restaurants and is frequently made at home.
A usual ingredient for this stew, lobster stock is easily made if the cook is working with a whole lobster. Lobster stock is created by boiling the shell and body parts in water once the cooked lobster meat is shucked. The parts of the lobster are removed before the stock is used in the stew.
Cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt are the spices most often added to this dish. Onions, chives, and chervil may also be used to season the stew. Sherry wine is sometimes added as well, usually in order to deglaze pans.
Vegetables can also be included in lobster stew, but many recipes will not add them. Carrots, celery, and potatoes are all common vegetables seen in this stew. Parsley may also be added.
Although frozen meat can be used, it is recommended that fresh lobster be obtained. Live lobster can be cooked and then shucked prior to making the stew. The meat should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
The simplest way to make lobster stew is to melt butter in a pot and sauté the lobster in the butter. Once sufficiently cooked, heavy cream is added and the mixture is heated but not allowed to boil. Sometimes whole milk or half and half is substituted or included with the heavy cream.
In more complex recipes, butter is still first melted in a stock pot. If onion is included, it is added to the melted butter and allowed to caramelize. Then the lobster stock is added, along with the vegetables and seasonings. The stew is allowed to simmer before the cream is added. The lobster meat may first be sautéed in oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before it is included in the stew.
After the lobster meat is sauteed, sherry wine is used to deglaze the frying pan. Deglazing simply adds alcohol, or another liquid, in order to remove the juices or little bits of meat left by sauteeing. This liquid is added to the stew along with the lobster meat.
Often served with croutons or oyster crackers, lobster stew is best when it is made a day ahead of time. It can be stored in the refrigerator overnight, then reheated the next day. Care should be taken when reheating it, however, so it does not boil.