Monday, 21 November 2011

Lobster Soup

On a very, very cold (-25 degrees C) Sunday, my Dad stopped by before heading back to Calgary.  I knew he would be coming, so I planned to make a lobster soup.

The stars of the show - 'cept for the cream because apparently he partied all night long and could not be reached.  And never mind the dirty dishcloths.  And the two apples peeking out from behind the milk - they were for later.

The only thing I have to say is that I was completely distracted with trying to entertain him, and there are only a couple of pictures.  And I forgot one of the ingredients....  I had hoped he would show up a little later than he actually did and that the soup would be simmering by the time he got to my house, but - the best laid plans never work out the way they should.

But before I start, I need to backtrack a little bit.  This recipe calls for celery flakes.  And I SCOURED my grocery store looking for celery flakes.  I know that McCormick's carries it cause I saw it on their website, and I'm sure it's available in the States, but not here in Canada.  And I didn't want to leave it out or substitute, so I googled celery flakes when I got home.

Turns out, it's pretty simple to do.  Strip some of the leaves of a bunch of celery, rinse them up, pat dry, and toss on a baking sheet and into the oven at 180 degrees F for a few hours or until the leaves are crispy.  I'm not gonna lie - they smelled GREAT!  And it's just CELERY.  The leaves smelled earthy and peppery and I was really excited to use them.
Fresh and ready to go in the oven.
Dried and crushed celery leaves.  Now - celery flakes!

Have you ever made a roux?  Just flour and butter and cook it a little while, and mix in milk or whatever and it helps the soup (or whatever) thicken.  And I think the "make a roux" - if you don't know how - can really freak a person out.  You'll see that in the recipe, it doesn't SAY "make a roux with the flour and butter".  Which I think in some small way helped me because I wasn't intimidated, I didn't think about it, I just did it.  And it WORKED.
The makings of a roux.  How fancy schmancy am I?

So you melt the butter, stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and celery flakes into the butter until well mixed.  I used about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.  Or maybe it was an 1/8.  Now I can't remember, because the recipe just said to taste - so I just eyeballed it.  I actually thought I'd wrecked it, but I knew there was still a lot of liquid to go in, so I didn't worry about it.

Then you slowly pour in the milk and chicken broth.  I let this heat up a little bit until it started to steam and then added the lobster, onion, and parsley.  The instructions are to let it cook for about 10 minutes, but I let it lightly simmer for about 1/2 an hour - I would have liked to let it go longer, but I really didn't have time. 

I'm calling this picture "Distracted".  Because that's what I was.

After it had simmered for a little while, I took out a whole bunch of it and pureed it in the blender.  The recipe doesn't say to do this, but I thought it would be fun.  Now, I kinda wish that I had pureed a lot less - maybe less than half of the batch.  Then I added it backed to the pot and let it come to heat again.

Just before you serve, you're supposed to add cream and reheat - but I forgot.  And it was still REALLY good!

My Dad proceeded to have two bowls, even though he "ate a whole bunch of fruit at Cora's at breakfast and was stuffed".  And after he took one bite, he looked at me and said - "do you know what we're missing?"  And I knew exactly what he was going to say.  Buns.  Actually, this would be awesome in a bread bowl.
A scraped clean bowl for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy.

I have just enough for dinner tonight, so if you're feeding a few people I would make the whole recipe as it states.  As it was I halved this recipe.

Also, the recipe says to cook everything over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  If you like crunchy onions that's fine, but if you want soft onions you might want to cook them in a little butter for a few minutes and then add them to the soup.

And I have a confession - I used FAKE lobster.  Real lobster is EXPENSIVE as all get out in the Prairies and usually frozen (ick).  So fake it had to be.  Don't judge me.

As written - the recipe is really great - the celery flakes imparted that earthy peppery flavour without being too much. 

Who's scoffing NOW Mom?

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.

Lobster Soup
6 tablespoons margarine (I used butter - cause um.  margarine kinda freaks me out)
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups lobster meat
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 onions, thinly sliced
1 pinch celery flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste (I think about 1 teaspoon would do)
salt to taste (I think about 1/2 a teaspoon, or 1/4 teaspoon)
3/4 cup light cream
  1. Melt margarine (or butter) in a saucepan.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery flakes; blend well.
  2. Very slowly, mix in milk and chicken stock.
  3. Add cold lobster, onion, and parsley.  Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add cream to desired consistency and reheat.
  5. Season to taste and serve.
Source: Allrecipes

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