One lobster serves four in this soup Essay

Costly lobster can be stretched to serve four–instead of just one ortwo–in this firsr-course soup.

Served with chunks of lobster meat andleeks, it has a luxurious look and flavor. The day ahead, you can cook the lobster, simmer the leeks, andconcentrate the broth by boiling it for 1-1/2 hours or so. To serve,reheat the leeks and lobster, arrange in shallow bowls, and add hotbroth. Optional cranberries lend a bright color and slightly tarttaste. Lobster Soup with Leeks 4 cups regular-strength chicken broth 3cups dry white wine Water 1 live Maine lobster (1-1/2 to 2 lb.

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) 3 smalloranges 2 leeks (about 1 lb.) 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into2-inch chunks 2 cloves garlic 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2teaspoon dry thyme leaves 1 teaspoon whole black peppers 2 sprigsparsley 3/4 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries(optional) 1 tablespoon sugar (optional) In an 8- to 10-quart kettle, combine broth, wine, and 3 quartswater. Bring to boiling on high heat, then plunge lobster, head first,into broth.

Return broth to boiling; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Liftout lobster and let cool. With a vegetable peeler, cut two 4-inch strips of peel (orange partonly) off 1 orange. Ream enough of the oranges to make 1/2 cup juice.Add peel and juice to broth. Cut remaining orange into thin slices andreserve for garnish.

Trim and discard root ends off leeks. Cut off tough green tops,wash well, and set aside. Split tender white part of leeks and rinsewell; tie split leeks with string to hold together. Simmer the leeks inthe broth, uncovered, until tender when pierced, about 10 minutes. Liftout and drain. (If done ahead, cool, cover, and chill leeks as long asovernight).

Add leek tops, carrots, garlic, bay, tomato paste, thyme, pepper,and parsley to broth. Continue boiling broth, uncovered, while workingon lobster. When lobster is cool enough to handle, twist off tail where itjoints the body. Push fork deep into a big end of tail and gently pullout meat in one piece. Cut meat into about 1/3-inch-thick slices.Reserve shells.

Remove and discard small stomach sac that lies just behind head andpull out intestinal vein that runs down to end of tail. Reservecoral-colored roe (if any) and greenish-yellow liver in body cavity.Crack claws and carefully remove meat.

(If done ahead, cool, cover, andchill lobster meat as long as overnight.) Return shells to broth and continue boiling broth, uncovered, untilreduced to about half, about 1-1/2 hours. Pour through a colander overa large bowl to strain. Discard vegetables and shells.

Return broth toempty pan and boil, uncovered, until reduced to 3 cups. In a small bowl, mash reserved lobster roe with the back of aspoon. Add roe, liver and cream to broth. (If done ahead, cool, cover,and chill broth as long as overnight.) Shortly before serving, put cranberries, sugar, and about 2 cupswater into a 1- to 2-quart pan and bring to boiling; cover and simmeruntil fruit is barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Bring broth to boiling. If leeks and lobster were cooked ahead,simmer in broth just until reheated.

With a slotted spoon, remove leeksand cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths. Arrange equal portions of leeksin 4 wide, shallow soup bowls; top with equal portions of lobster meatand a spoonful of cranberries. Pour hot broth into each bowl, but donot cover leeks and lobster completely. Garnish with orange slices.

Pass any remaining broth,. if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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