Better Than the Bird: Have a Lobster Thanksgiving!

November 17, 2015 Matthew A. Moore

It’s November, which means football, falling leaves, and giving thanks. Well, technically, you should give thanks year-round (because if you have Internet and are reading this, your life could be a lot worse). But I’m talking of course about that most turkey-centric of holidays: Thanksgiving. Every year in November we go fanatical for fowl in a big way. It’s estimated that ‘Mericans consumed 46 million turkeys in 2012 alone. That’s a whole lot of bird. Why is turkey so synonymous with Thanksgiving, though? If we’re so thankful, can’t we give turkeys a year off?

Turkey GIF

“Thanks for coming to the feast, Turkey Tom! Dinner will be served shortly…”

Segueing off the above sentiment, I humbly suggest that you mix it up this Thanksgiving and serve something better than the bird: Lobster! After all, the pilgrims dined on the crustaceans at the first Thanksgiving. And if this holiday is all about giving thanks for our ‘Merican blessings, why not celebrate one of the oldest continuously operated industries in our country’s history? People were lobstering before we even signed the Constitution, for [John] Hancock’s sake!

John Hancock

Not 100%, but I’m almost positive this is a verbatim quote from Hancock after he signed the Constitution.

Lobster is also a perfectly-portioned protein, meaning you’re far less likely to go overboard on second (and sometimes third) helpings of turkey and sides. So pass up the poultry this Thanksgiving and instead savor one—or both—of these divine lobster dishes developed by Executive Food Editor Ann Pittman exclusively for your Better Than The Bird celebration. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Cheers.

Stuffed Lobster Tails
Instead of turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving, try something way more elegant—lobster tails stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs and drizzled with white wine reduction. To keep lobster tails straight, before cooking, run a skewer through the center of the fan at the end of the tail and up the length of the tail.

Stuffed Lobster Tails

Stuffed Lobster Tails. Photo: Teresa Sabga

1 1/3 cups dry white wine, divided
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots, divided
2 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons butter, divided
8 (4-ounce) cooked Maine lobster tails in shells (from 8 [21/2 to 3-pound] lobsters)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
3 ounces whole-grain bread, pulsed in food processor to coarse crumbs

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Cook wine, 1/4 cup shallots, and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Add 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until butter melts. Keep warm.

3. Bend back the fan of each lobster tail to crack the joint. Carefully cut a slit down the top of each lobster shell with kitchen shears. Carefully remove lobster meat, reserving shell. Remove and discard intestinal vein. Arrange lobster meat onto shells, decoratively. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and 1 tablespoon butter; swirl until butter melts. Add 1/2 cup shallots and celery; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in thyme leaves, sage, and breadcrumbs. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 2 tablespoons stuffing onto each lobster tail, pressing to mold stuffing onto lobster. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Drizzle evenly with sauce.

SERVES 8 (serving size: 1 stuffed lobster tail and about 2 teaspoons sauce)
CALORIES 234; FAT 9g (sat 3.1g, mono 3.4g, poly 1.5g); PROTEIN 25g; CARB 9g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 92mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 583mg; CALC 105mg


Lobster Bisque
Since you’re only using the tails for the stuffed lobster recipe above, eke the most of that other lobster meat (and the shells) with this creamy, dreamy bisque. When removing the meat from the shells, do so over a bowl and use the lobster juices in the bisque.

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque. Photo: Teresa Sabga

Shells from body, head, and claws of 8 (21/2- to 3-pound) Maine lobsters, chopped into large pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry vermouth
4 cups seafood stock (such as Kitchen Basics)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup water
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
1 pound cooked Maine lobster meat (from claws and legs of 8 [2-pound] lobsters)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives (optional)

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add lobster shells; sauté 6 to 8 minutes or until shells begin to brown. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaves); sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add vermouth; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in stock.

2. Add enough water to lobster juices (see headnote) to equal 3 cups. Add to pan; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Strain mixture over a bowl; discard solids. Return stock to pan over medium-low heat. Stir in cream. Combine 1/2 cup water and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add to pan; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in lobster meat. Cook 2 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with chives, if desired.

SERVES 8 (serving size: 1 generous cup)
CALORIES 193; FAT 9.4g (sat 4g, mono 4.1g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 14g; CARB 9g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 61mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 597mg; CALC 69mg

What about the sides? These might help:

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