Lobster Stock recipe

Sweet, elegant, rosy, and full of the ocean, homemade lobster stock grabs my attention like little else.  Having a few quarts of this on hand in my freezer has allowed me, on more than one occasion, to pull a seafood risotto out of thin air for unexpected dinner guests.  I'll repeat that--pull seafood risotto out of thin air.

Like last week's tutorial on making chicken stock, I think it is incredibly important to make a point to use every part of an animal and take nothing for granted.  Particularly with pricy lobsters, not wasting any of their precious flavor or nutrients seems paramount.  The shells and body have loads of luscious lobster essence, and tossing that out feels criminal.

The recipe below is for the shells and bodies of two lobsters, yielding about two quarts of stock.  But if you want to wait to do a larger batch, just freeze the lobster parts in a freezer-safe bag or container until you have accumulated more.

This seafood potion will instantly make a risotto special, and is also an amazing base for a seafood stew, bisque, or the start of a creamy seafood pasta sauce.  Recycle, reuse, and renew to spectacular results.

Homemade Lobster Stock

yields approximately 2 quarts

Shells and bodies of two medium lobsters--roe, tomalley, and gills (the fuzzy, grey, feather-like pieces attached to the body just above the legs, just under the main body shell) removed.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
Small handful of leek greens, optional but delicious
1/2 of a tomato, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of cognac
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
A spring of thyme
Few parsley stems, or sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil on high.  Add the lobster shells and bodies, and allow to cook for about three minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown just slightly.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, leek, and tomato, and saute for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly.  Add the tomato paste, and continue to cook for about a minute, reducing heat if anything starts to get too brown.

Add cognac and allow to cook for another minute.  Add cold water to just cover lobster and vegetables, then add peppercorns, thyme, parsley and the bay leaf.

Keep the pot on high heat, and bring to just a boil, uncovered.  Once at a boil, turn down immediately to a simmer, skimming off any foam or impurities that may have been brought to the surface.

Allow to simmer for thirty minutes, continuing to skim as necessary.  Strain through a fine strainer, lined with a few layers of cheese cloth.  Cool completely and store in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for up to three months.

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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