Lobster, Corn and Poblano Chowder


1 or 2 live lobsters (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)

4 cups organic chicken stock

2 ears corn, husks and silk removed

4 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

3 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into small pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large yellow onions, minced

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 cup SIMI Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay, divided

6 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and diced

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 poblano chile, stem, seeds, and ribs removed, diced

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

small fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish


Designed to pair with SIMI Reserve Chardonnay

Serves 6

Fill a large pot two-thirds full with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop in the lobster(s) headfirst, cover the pot, and when the water returns to a boil, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and start timing. Plan on 6 to 7 minutes for a 1-pound lobster, 8 to 10 minutes for a 1 1/2-pound lobster, and 11 to 12 minutes for a 2-pound lobster. The shell of a lobster will turn red when the lobster is ready. Using tongs or a large wire skimmer, carefully remove the lobster(s) from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle.

To remove the meat from a lobster, twist off the claws from the body, then crack each claw with a mallet or lobster cracker and pull away the shells, being careful not to tear the meat. Set the meat and shells aside separately. Next, separate the tail from the body by twisting them in opposite directions and then set the body aside. To remove the meat from the tail, snap off the flippers from the narrow end and, using a small fork or similar tool (or your finger), push the meat out the broad end. Set the tail meat aside with the claw meat, and set the tail shell aside with the claw shells. Tug at the legs and body to separate them from the back shell and set the back shell aside with the other shells. Remove the legs from the body, then remove the spongy gills, sand sac, and black vein from the body and discard. Pick out the rib meat from the body and the meat from the legs and refrigerate for another use. Cut the tail and claw meat into roughly 1/2-inch pieces, place in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving. Gather up all of the shells and use to make the stock.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the shells on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer the shells to a small stockpot, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and discard the shells. Set the stock aside.

Hold an ear of corn stem end down in a wide, shallow bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut downward between the cob and the base of the kernels to remove the kernels but not their fibrous bases, rotating the ear after each cut. When all of the kernels have been removed, run the back of the knife down the cob to release any corn "milk" trapped in the bases. Repeat with the remaining ear of corn. Set the corn aside.

In a large, heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, onions, and celery and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatillos, potatoes, the reserved stock, and the thyme and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, chile, and cream and season with salt and pepper. Simmer to cook the corn and blend the flavors, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme and keep the soup warm.

To serve, in a sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the reserved lobster meat and sauté briefly just to heat through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lobster to a plate. Pour off the oil from the pan and discard, then return the pan to high heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom. Add to the soup and taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Divide the lobster evenly among six warmed bowls and then ladle the hot soup into the bowls. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

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