Jasper White’s Lobster Chowder

In the summer, chef Jasper White makes this dish with fresh corn, using the cobs to flavor the lobster stock and the kernels to add sweetness and texture to the chowder. The recipe is adapted from White’s book 50 Chowders (Scribner; 2000.)


3 lobsters, about 1-1/4 pounds each
Kosher or sea salt
4 ounces smoked slab bacon, rind removed, diced small (1/4-inch pieces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced large (3/4-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
1-1/2 pounds ‘Yukon Gold’ or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled, diced large (3/4-inch pieces)
4 cups Lobster Stock (see accompanying recipe)
1-1/2–2 cups heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)


Fill a very large stockpot (8–10 quarts) two-thirds full with water. Add enough salt to make water noticeably salty, and bring to a rolling boil. Quickly plunge lobsters head first into boiling water.

Cover pot and set timer for 4 minutes. (Lobster meat will finish cooking in chowder.) Using tongs, remove lobsters from pot and cool at room temperature.

Using a large, heavy knife, cut through shell from head to tail to halve lobsters lengthwise. Remove cartilage and intestinal tract. Pull meat from tail, knuckles, and claws. Dice into ¾-inch pieces, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Reserve shells for stock.

Cook bacon over low heat in a large, wide, 4-quart saucepan until it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat; then increase heat to medium and brown bacon. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat. Leave bacon in pan.

Add butter, onion, and thyme; cook, stirring, until onion is softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.

Add paprika and cook 1 minute more, stirring continuously. Add potatoes and Lobster Stock. Cover and heat to boiling. Cook potatoes until soft outside but still firm in center, 12–14 minutes. Stir to let potato starch thicken broth slightly.

Remove pot from heat and stir in lobster meat and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat gently on low setting; don’t boil. To serve, use a slotted spoon to mound potatoes, onion, and lobster in center of bowls; then ladle creamy broth over top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or chives.

Jasper White’s Lobster Stock


3 lobster carcasses and shells
2 quarts water
1 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned) with juices
2 medium-size onions, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 small carrots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
Kosher or sea salt


Split carcasses’ heads; remove head sacs and discard. Place carcasses and shells in a large (6- to 8-quart) pot and add 2 quarts water. Heat to boiling; skim scum from surface. Reduce heat to a gentle boil.

Add wine, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add water if liquid cooks to below lobster shells.

Season to taste with salt; simmer 15 minutes more. Strain stock. If not using immediately, chill quickly. Cover and refrigerate stock up to 2 days, or freeze for later use. Yield: about 5 cups

Cooking & Recipes


6–8 servings

Preparation Time: 


Start to Finish Time: 

1-3/4 hours

Preparation Method

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