Lobster Corn Chowder
4 1 1/2 lb live lobsters*
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus extra for serving
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups white wine
2 cups heavy cream
3 ears corn, kernels sliced off cob, and cobs cut into thirds
6 medium red potatoes, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
1 medium jalapeño , thinly sliced (optional)
Prepare a large stock pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath, as well. Drop the lobster(s) in (working in batches if necessary), and boil for about 10 minutes. Plunge the lobsters briefly in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Crack each lobster, removing meat from tails and claws, and reserve the shells: body, head, claws. Reserve 2 cups of the water used for the boil. Chop the lobster meat into bite sized pieces. Refer to my tips on how to boil lobster.
In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to brown. Add the onions and continue cooking until they are transparent and wilted. Retrieve the pancetta and set aside.
Add the celery, carrots, thyme, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and paprika, cooking until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved lobster shells/heads and stir in the white wine. Cook for several minutes, until the wine has cooked off and the liquid has reduced by half. Pour in the cream, and add the corn cobs and 2 cups of water reserved from boiling the lobster. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and cover. Simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring periodically. Strain the broth using a colander, pressing the shells, cobs, etc. to extract as much broth as possible. Remove the shells and cobs and discard.
Put the broth back into the pot, and if you like a hearty chowder as I do, return the cooked vegetables from the colander, making sure there are no shells or extraneous particles. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes and reserved pancetta. Let the chowder simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the reserved and chopped lobster meat to the chowder and heat through.
Serve hot, garnishing with cilantro, a few slices of jalapeño (if desired), and an extra sprinkling of paprika.