Lobster bonne femme

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A little like the traditional French soup of the same name - plump, sweet lobster meat is warmed through in a sauce comprising young leeks, chunky potato pieces and thyme.

2 lobsters
500g/1lb of peeled potatoes (desiree are good, cut into irregular bite-sized chunks)
4tbsp of unsalted butter
200g/7oz of small young leeks, trimmed, washed and left whole
A few sprigs of fresh thyme (lemon thyme imparts a particularly lovely flavour into soups and stews)
A splash of vermouth
350ml/12fl oz of chicken stock
75g/3oz of shelled cooked fresh peas
1tbsp of finely chopped parsley

Place a large pot of salty water onto boil. When the water is vigorously boiling, drop in the lobsters and cook them for around 8 minutes. Remove them from the water. When they are cool enough to handle, take a sharp knife and make an incision all the way down the middle. Take out the flesh, then crack the claws and gently remove the meat from them too.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add enough cold water to cover and set over a medium heat. Season with salt. Cook them at a gentle simmer until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain them and set aside.

Melt 1tbsp of butter in a deep-sided skillet over a gentle heat. When the butter has melted, add the leeks, thyme, vermouth and, finally, chicken stock. Allow the broth to come to a simmer. Add the remaining butter and swirl until it melts. Taste for salt. Turn the heat down to low and add the potatoes, lobster pieces and peas. Swirl and tilt the pan to baste the lobster in the buttery broth.

Cook for a further 4 minutes or so to allow the sauce's flavour to slightly intensify and reduce, and to ensure that the lobster is completely warmed through. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with a simple green salad and a crunchy textural bread.