Oilfield Cafe: Christmas Lobster Chowder


‘Tis the season for holiday cooking and I’m really excited to share this recipe with you! And while I didn’t plan it this way, I’m glad that it comes on the heels of Jamie’s Crawfish Dip recipe from yesterday. Now all you seafood lovers will have your appetizer recipe and soup recipe for an awesome holiday seafood feast!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but before I embarked on my North Dakota camper adventure, I worked for a live lobster distribution company for 7 years in various office and logistics positions. The company, Clearwater Lobster, is based out of Nova Scotia, Canada, but maintains the world’s largest inland live lobster pound in Louisville, Kentucky. It was always interesting trying to explain that I worked for a live lobster company in the middle of Kentucky. Strange though it may seem, the reason that Kentucky was chosen is because it provides them with the best logistics options due to it’s central location and the UPS hub that’s located in Louisville. The company ships out nearly 1 million pounds of lobster each year to high end restaurants and grocery stores, including Marketplace Foods and Seven’s Bar in Minot for all you North Dakota folk. They also maintain a website where you can order lobster online that will be packed and sent overnight to your home.

After seven years I learned a few things about lobster. So, in case you didn’t know, let me tell you, this is prime lobster season. The molting season is over and the lobsters are now hardshelled and fully meated. As such, in Atlantic Canada and the north eastern United States lobster is a popular Christmas dish, including various lobster bisques and chowders. While I can’t claim this recipe as my own, it has become a family favorite and  I have made a few changes that reflect the way I prepare it. The original recipe also suggests serving it with crackers, but I’ve found that it is awesome when served in bread bowls. It’s also a great recipe to prepare ahead of time and let sit overnight so that the flavors can really meld together. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Christmas Lobster Chowder Recipe


4 live 1 lb lobsters

4 medium potatoes (recommended: russet, German butterball, or Yukon gold)

2 ounces high-quality smoked slab bacon, diced to 1/4 inch

2 medium leeks, white part only, rinsed and diced to 1/2 inch

Several cups water, lobster stock, or fish stock (I’ve also successfully used Better Than Bouillon in this recipe in place of stock)

2 ounces unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt

1 cup heavy cream

Ground Cayenne or Chipotle Pepper (The original recipe includes this, but I’ve never put it in when I make it.)


Pour 1 inch of water into a pot large enough to contain all the lobsters. Bring the water to a full boil. Remove the bands from the lobsters’ claws and place them on their backs over the boiling water. Cover the pot tightly, and steam over high heat about 3 minutes. Quickly remove the lobsters from the pot and chill them rapidly by plunging them into a basin filled with ice and water. Set a wire strainer over a mixing bowl. Twist the tails off the lobsters over the strainer to catch their juices. Shell the lobster tails and claws over the strainer. Cut the tails into 4 quarters, leave the claw and knuckle meats whole, and reserve the lobster meat in a refrigerator.

Peel the potatoes, split each into 4 wedges, and slice the wedges into 1/2-inch slices. In a large non-reacting soup pot, cook the diced bacon over moderate heat until golden and nearly crisp. Pour off all but about a generous tablespoon of the fat. Add the diced leeks, stir, and cook about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, stir, cover the pot, and continue cooking over moderate heat, stirring frequently to prevent browning, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending upon the potato variety and the thickness of the slices. (I also take some of the potatoes out and mash them with a fork to give the chowder a mealy texture.) Add the strained lobster juices and enough water, lobster or fish stock, to just cover the vegetables. Simmer 4 or 5 minutes. Keep the chowder base hot as you prepare the lobster meat and cream enrichment.

Heat the butter in a wide skillet. Add the lobster meat, season with black pepper, and saute over moderate heat 3 or 4 minutes until the meat is firm, opaque, and pink. Pour in the heavy cream, and rapidly bring it to a simmer. Pour the lobster and cream mixture into the chowder base, and stir gently to combine. Taste for seasonings, and adjust with sea salt, plenty of fresh-milled black pepper, and a pinch of chipotle or cayenne pepper. Off heat, cover the pot and allow the chowder to ripen for 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe Courtesy of The Food Network. Original can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/foodnation-with-bobby-flay/christmas-chowder-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Avatar of chelsea About chelsea

Chelsea is mama to 4 year old Will and partner to her oilfield man and best friend of 16 years, Jacob. She splits her time between the family’s camper in the North Dakota Oil Patch and a small urban homestead in Kentucky. Chelsea writes about the family’s camper adventures at www.talesofanoilfieldgypsy.blogspot.com. She is a batik artist and loves teaching others about the art of batik at www.beautyofbatik.com. She can also be found working on her other sites www.chelseaniehaus.com and www.urbanagricultureinfo.com. In her moments of spare time she enjoys knitting, sewing and gardening.

  • Jaimie Rachal

    Great minds think alike! LOL :)

    • Chelsea Niehaus

      Definitely! I think we are going to try the Crawfish Dip recipe this year for New Years! Love me some crawfish!