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Boston Seafood Chowder

Seafood ChowderMy father cooked the seafood chowder! He brought the recipe to Boston from his birthplace in Islesboro, Maine. I remember the tantalizing  smell as Dad carefully blended ingredients.

1/4 lb. salt pork
2 big onions sliced
2 to 3 cups of raw potatoes (also sliced, never cubed)
2 cups of water
2 lb.s haddock or cod
salt to taste and 1/4 tsp. pepper
2 to 3 cups rich milk or par “coffee cream”

Fry salt pork in heavy kettle. Remove pork scraps and set aside. Cook onions in remaining fat until golden. Add potatoes and water. Place fish fillets on top of potatoes. Season. Cover and cook on low heat until potatoes are fairly soft and fish flakes. Pour milk and heat, but do NOT boil. Avoid stirring (so fish won’t break up too much) and serve with “common” crackers. These crackers are still available from Vermont Common Foods. Sprinkle reserved crisp pork bits on top of chowder.

Lobster Bisque from Down East

The name “bisque” came later than the soup, which was originally  just called plain thick lobster soup.

Lobster Bisque Ingredients

5 cups fish stock or chicken stock lobster-bisque
2/3 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup butter
3 celery stalks, scraped and cut into fine strips
2 carrots, scraped and cut into fine strips
1 leek, trimmed and sliced fine
1 onion, sliced thin and divided into rings
2 to 2 1/2 pounds lobster, 1 large or two small
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons brandy
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt, pepper, and cayenne
3 tablespoons minced parsley

Makes 8 Servings

Boil stock with rice for 45 minutes. Heat half of the butter in a large kettle, add the vegetables, and stir over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Split lobsters, take out sac and intestinal vein, and arrange lobster halves cut side down on the vegetables. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes. Turn lobster halves and stir with the the vegetables until shells are bright red. Add wine and brandy, cover, and simmer for 7 minutes. Take out lobster, remove meat from shells, and set aside.

Pound the shells with a mallet and return them to the kettle with the stock and rice. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to 4 cups. Strain off the liquid, set it over medium heat, and whip in the cream and remaining 1/4 cup butter. Dice lobster meat and add it to the bisque. Add seasoning to taste and cook until lobster  is heated through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve in warmed soup cups.

Note: At the season of the year when lobster shells are very soft , or if chicken lobsters are used, the shells can be crushed to a paste and pureed a blender to add color and flavor to the bisque.

Love lobster bisque? Have fresh lobster bisque shipped to you or someone special. A Down East Favorite.


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