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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Nine Lives of my Lobster Stock Soup!

lobster shells→ lobster stock→ shrimp soup

WHEN David returned home from visiting his family over Christmas break, he returned home with what turned out to be quite a nasty cold! I decided to make him a soup using the saved lobster shells from the lobster dinner I'd made for us the previous week.

I added these beautifully-colored "confetti"
potatoes to the finished lobster stock

I searched online for lobster stock recipes and was faced with several--of which, some, included puréeing the lobster shells in a food processor. Seemed a bit too complex for me. Luckily, I found this very simple lobster stock recipe on the New York Times' website which required no ingredients that I didn't already have at home in my kitchen (although I did go out to purchase a fine sieve). 

I allowed the lobster stock to simmer for three hours before I began its seasoning and adding additional ingredients to make it into a soup. At the grocer's, I picked out nearly a dozen firm and fresh-smelling jumbo shrimp along with some tomatoes and potatoes. I boiled the shrimp--along with the potatoes--in plain water with a single bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley and a few short turns of the pepper mill added. Once the water came to a boil, I removed the shrimp and began peeling them (after cooled under running water) while I let the potatoes cook for a bit longer. 

Next I added canned, peeled tomatoes to the stock (along with some of their juice) and roughly mashed most of them--right in the pot--with a potato masher. Removing the finished potatoes from their cooking liquid, I added them to the stock along with the peeled (but tail on) shrimp. I'd thought the soup was pretty good, but I didn't know it was to get better...

New Year's Eve seafood soup

After thinking about it... the soup could have been much improved if I had reduced the stock (and not overcooked the potatoes). For its second run, I decided to take the entire contents of the original soup (David and I had eaten all the shrimp) and purée it in a blender before reducing it. I also boiled a new batch of potatoes--paying careful attention to their cooking time--along with a new batch of shrimp. This time, the soup was much better! 

I was also able to retain the integrity of the potatoes
by not overcooking them

For the third and final run of the "seafood soup," I employed a can of escargots that I happened upon at Dean & Deluca in SoHo.

still cheaper than eating out

The soup--depleted of its shrimp, and reduced to its maximum--required no more than simply adding the escargots and heating (covered) on the stovetop.

et  voilà!

The seafood soup with escargots was absolutely delicious, and I found this variation to be the most French of all. I'd wondered how the broth seemed (even more) improved since I'd done nothing this time to alter it. Perhaps a day or two of simply "sitting" had something to do with it. Last night, David and I finished the lot of the soup when he mentioned it reminding him of a really good turtle soup. What a compliment for the cook! May I call myself, cook... yet?
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