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Lobster Thermidor a La Julia Child

Lobster Thermidor a La Julia Child created by ken  cooks

From the master of French cooking herself! This looks like it is a TON of work (and money), but I can't even begin to imagine how delicious this must be. I am speechless after reading and typing this recipe! There is really no way that I could estimate the time on this.

Ready In:
2mins
Serves:
Units:

ingredients

directions

  • Simmer all of the ingredients under Step 1 (except the lobsters!) in a large enameled or stainless steel pot for 15 minutes.
  • Bring to a rolling boil and then add the live lobsters.
  • You can tell when they are done because they are bright red and the long head-feelers can be pulled out pretty easily.
  • While the lobsters are steaming, stew the mushrooms over low to medium low heat in a covered saucepan with all of the other ingredients from Step 2 for 10 minutes.
  • When the lobsters are cooked, remove them from the kettle.
  • Pour the mushroom juices in the kettle (not the mushrooms!) lobster-juices pot and boil down rapidly until it is reduced to about 2 1/4 cups liquid.
  • Strain the liquid into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook the first 2 ingredients from Step 3 slowly together in another saucepan.
  • Be sure not to brown it!
  • Remove from heat, and beat in the lobster-mushroom liquid.
  • Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  • Drizzle the cream from step 3 on top of the sauce.
  • Split the lobsters in half, lengthwise, making sure to keep the shell halves intact.
  • Discard 'sand sacks' in the heads and intestines.
  • Rub 'lobster coral' and 'green matter' through a fine sieve into a 3 quart mixing bowl, and blend it into the ingredients from step 4.
  • Beat the lobster-mushroom sauce into this mixture in small spats.
  • Return the sauce to the pan, and, stirring with a wooden spoon, bring it to a boil.
  • Boil slowly for 2 minutes.
  • Thin out with step 5.
  • By now the sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon pretty heavily.
  • Set aside, top filmed with a spoonful of cream.
  • Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws, cut into 3/8 inch cubes.
  • Set the skillet with the butter from step 6 over medium heat.
  • When butter foam begins to dissipate, stir in the lobster meat and saute, stirring slowly, for 5 minutes, until the meat has turned a rosy color.
  • Pour the cognac in and boil for a minute or two, shaking the skillet, until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Fold cooked mushrooms and 2/3 of the sauce into the skillet with the lobster meat.
  • Arrange the split lobster shells on a shallow roasting pan or fireproof serving platter.
  • Heap the lobster mixture into the shells, and cover with the remaining sauce.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter (you can refrigerate it at this point to finish up later on).
  • Place in upper 1/3 of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lobster is bubbling and sauce is a nice brown.
  • Serve immediately!
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@ChipotleChick
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@ChipotleChick
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"From the master of French cooking herself! This looks like it is a TON of work (and money), but I can't even begin to imagine how delicious this must be. I am speechless after reading and typing this recipe! There is really no way that I could estimate the time on this."
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  1. winifredsilvers
    I can now say, just as I imagined after first finding the recipe in my ancient Julia Child cookbook, this is definitely not a recipe for anything but a special occasion. I chose this recipe over Julia's (4 page recipe) due to what appeared to be a quicker, simpler initial lobster steaming/stock making combined effort. For me, it took a good two hours for prep. Easy-breezy after that. I had extra sauce, I think, because I used only lobster tails. I added several shrimp for extra flavor when I steamed the lobster, but saved them for later consumption. I also used fresh tarragon and had to use prepared Grey Poupon mustard (perhaps 2T) because I had no dry mustard. The sauce is extremely rich due to loads of butter and whipping cream, but also extremely delicious and decadent with wonderful, nuances of lemon and subtle spices. I did not add additional butter before placing it in the oven. I also used only freshly grated parmesan, no swiss cheese (didn't have any). I am so very glad I did not notice the calorie content until well after all was ready for the oven. We think it is a keeper.
    Reply
  2. molamit
    The amount of effort, mostly cleaning the crustaceans, really makes this a special-occasions-only kind of dish, but the buttery, heady , complex flavor makes it worth the trouble. I make this every Christmas with a few adaptations. I use crabs instead of lobster. I fish for my own crabs from the local pier, but because you'd be hard pressed to find a good-sized crab in the bay past November, the dish has to be stored from then until the day before serving. I follow the recipe exactly as if the crabs were lobsters, but I stop before I add any cream or egg to the broth. I rub the eggs and green stuff through a sieve and put it in the reduced broth. Then, I put the broth and crabmeat in a big ziploc bag, making sure the meat is entirely submerged to prevent freezer burn. The bag goes into the freezer until the day before I intend to serve it. I thaw it in a colander to separate the broth from the meat and pick up the recipe where I left off. I put the filling in little ramekins instead of the long-discarded shells, and make sure they're tightly covered so they don't get a skin. These go back into the fridge overnight, so all I really have to do the day of is sprinkle with a little Parmesan and broil.
    Reply
  3. molamit
    The amount of effort, mostly cleaning the crustaceans, really makes this a special-occasions-only kind of dish, but the buttery, heady , complex flavor makes it worth the trouble. I make this every Christmas with a few adaptations. I use crabs instead of lobster. I fish for my own crabs from the local pier, but because you'd be hard pressed to find a good-sized crab in the bay past November, the dish has to be stored from then until the day before serving. I follow the recipe exactly as if the crabs were lobsters, but I stop before I add any cream or egg to the broth. I rub the eggs and green stuff through a sieve and put it in the reduced broth. Then, I put the broth and crabmeat in a big ziploc bag, making sure the meat is entirely submerged to prevent freezer burn. The bag goes into the freezer until the day before I intend to serve it. I thaw it in a colander to separate the broth from the meat and pick up the recipe where I left off. I put the filling in little ramekins instead of the long-discarded shells, and make sure they're tightly covered so they don't get a skin. These go back into the fridge overnight, so all I really have to do the day of is sprinkle with a little Parmesan and broil.
    Replies 1
  4. ken  cooks
    Lobster Thermidor a La Julia Child Created by ken  cooks
    Reply
  5. coconutty
    I have prepared this recipe exactly per the book. It was an enormous amount of work, and when it came time to serve it, I couldn't eat it. However, my guests raved about it, so based on that I give it 5 stars!
    Replies 1
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