Lobster Stock
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Recipe Checklist:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 Gallons of Fish Stock
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Rough Chopped
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, Rough Chopped
  • 1 Large Carrot, Rough Chopped
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 Bundle of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bundle of Fresh Tarragon
  • 6-8 Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 4 Shallots, Rough Chopped
  • 1 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1 T of Dry Sherry
  • 3-5 Cloves of Garlic, Bruised
  • Pinch of Saffron
Tools & Equipment
  • Large Sautoir or Stock Pot
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Strainer
  • Kitchen Towel
Estimated Time
2-3 Hours
+ -

 

Lobster Stock is a Stock made by Simmering Lobster Shells and Lobster Limbs. Lobster Stock is useful for making Lobster Glace, as a base for making Lobster Bisque and for Lobster Compound Butter.

Preparation

The biggest preparation step in making Lobster Stock is securing your Lobster Shells and Limbs. We call for using cooked Lobster Shells and Legs because most of us at home will want to cook our Lobsters before Butchering them, which, in turn, means that we will have an easier time sourcing cooked Lobster Shells and Lobster Legs than raw ones. If you happen to have some residual Lobster Meat, or even Lobster Guts attached to the shells that is O.K. They will all add flavor and can be strained out of the Lobster Stock later.

If you have to wait to accumulate Lobster Shells from a few dinners, you can store cooked Lobster Shells in the freezer (un-rinsed in a freezer bag) until you have enough for a Lobster Stock. For stock making purposes, the cooked shells will last in the freezer almost indefinitely.

You can also use Raw Lobster Shells, including the whole Lobster Carapace (the body which is normally otherwise thrown away), to make Lobster Stock. In fact, the raw shells will have more “lobster” flavor, pound for pound, than the cooked shells.  If you need to store your raw shells to accumulate enough to make a Lobster Stock, store them in the freezer as you would the cooked shells.

Preparing enough Fish Stock to cover your Lobster Shells will also be another big job. We use about 1-2 gallons to cover the cooked shells from approximately 4 Lobsters. We strongly suggest that you make the extra effort to make some homemade Fish Stock, or at least procure some Fish Stock from your local grocer.

You could possibly get away with using a mixture of Fish Stock and Clam Juice, if you are not planning on using your Lobster Stock for a Lobster Glace. Clam Juice, which is very salty, will give your Glace too much salty flavor as it Reduces. In a pinch some White Chicken Stock could help you stretch your Fish Stock supply.

You will also need a Mirepoix, some Rough Chopped Shallots (for sweetness), Garlic (the cloves bruised a bit with the flat of your Chef’s Knife), fresh Tarragon and Thyme stems, Tomatoes (Rough Chopped) and some Saffron for color, as well as some Tomato Paste for color.

Dry Vermouth, or White Wine will be needed for Deglazing.  A little dry Sherry will also add some richness of flavor so that you end up with a strong, but well balanced, Lobster Stock.

Smart Kitchen has a video exercise on making Shrimp Stock that covers all of the same steps required to make a Lobster Stock, only we demonstrate the process using Shrimp shells and some Shrimp in place of Lobster shells.

Making the Lobster Stock well before you need it greatly simplifies your Organization, the 2nd of Smart Kitchen’s 4 Levers of Cooking.™

Method

The first step in making a Lobster Stock is to Sweat your Mirepoix. Put your Stock Pot on Low Heat and add a neutral-flavored Oil like Canola Oil. We want Low Heat because we don’t want to Brown the ingredients and we want a neutral Oil so that the Lobster flavor will shine.

Once the Oil has some heat on it add the Mirepoix Vegetables to the pot. Stir them gently and give them a little time to release their Volatile Oils before adding the Shallots. Stir everything together a bit more.

After the Shallots have become somewhat translucent, add in your Lobster Shells.

Sweat everything together. If using raw Lobster Shells they should turn the reddish / pink hue of cooked Lobster. This color is important to the ultimate color of your Lobster Stock.

Keep everything moving by gently stirring. All of the shells and ingredients should come in contact with the hot metal of the bottom of the pot, but not so much so that they burn or Brown. You should notice some Fond forming on the bottom of the Pot. That Fond will yield some good flavor once it is Deglazed in a little bit.

As the mixture of shells and Vegetables becomes fully incorporated and heated through, add in the lightly bruised Garlic. We add the garlic a little later to shorten its cook time to prevent it from overpowering the Lobster Stock. With the Garlic safely in the Pot, add in some acid in the form of the Tomatoes.

At this point, you should be ready to Deglaze the Stockpot with the Dry Vermouth or White Wine and the dry Sherry. Add them and then stir to encourage the release of the Fond and its intense flavor into your Lobster Stock.

Once as much of the Fond is released as possible, clear out a small open spot in the center of Pot with your spoon, so that you can see the metal bottom of the Pot. Add the Tomato Paste and “Roast” it (really Sweat it) to cook off some of its bitterness.

With the Tomato Paste cooked off, you can now add in your Fish Stock. Use enough to cover your Lobster Shells. If you are short, remember that you can top off your Lobster Stock with some alternatives (Clam Juice, White Chicken Stock, Water, etc.)

At this point, you should bring the Lobster Stock to a Simmer. It should Simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours until it is Reduced down by a third and/or until you are happy with the Lobster flavor.  About one hour before you plan to remove the Lobster Stock from the heat of the stove, add in the fresh Tarragon, Thyme and Saffron. 

When the Lobster Stock meets your expectations, remove it from the heat so that you can Strain it before Venting it. Smart Kitchen demonstrates this process in our Exercise on Venting.

Once the Lobster Stock has Tempered to room temperature, you can transfer it to a storage container and store it refrigerated or frozen until needed. Refrigerated, the Lobster Stock will last about 2 weeks. Frozen, it will hold for about 3 months.