Mini Upside-Down Lobster Pot Pies, or Celebrating New England for the Super Bowl

We'll be the first ones to admit that we aren't sports fans. ESPN has been deleted from our TV channel grid. We don't own any football jerseys or foam fingers or can koozies. Sports are simply not on our radar. But now and then, we are invited to a sports-viewing soiree. It is then that we take it upon ourselves to choose a side (usually based on any current or past residence, sometimes based on color of outfits uniforms), and make a dish that celebrates that particular city/state/region (see our recent LSU vs. Alabama post).

Which brings us to Super Bowl Sunday. When we got a text from our friends D and J inviting us to their Super Bowl party, we knew we'd have to represent New England, both of us being born and raised here. And what food is more quintessentially New England than Maine lobster? Unfortunately, there is no money tree in our yard, and it's tough feeding lobster to a crowd (even a small one), when live lobsters cost about $9.99 a pound, and much of that is the (heavy) shell. A little brainstorming was all it took to come up with a solution that pleased all involved: 12 mini upside-down lobster pot pies.

What makes them upside-down? They are served in a puff-pastry cup instead of a puff-pastry or pie-crust top. Fun, right?

Mise en place

Shallots softened in butter

Add a little brandy

And a little flour to make a roux

Saturday afternoon, we purchased four small lobsters, steamed them and picked them. We netted one pound of lobster in the end (accounting for the occasional picking while picking). As the lobster meat chilled, we made our own lobster stock by placing all the shells in a large stock pot, covering them with water and boiling them for an hour, then straining the stock and reducing it until we had about two cups of lobstery liquid. An hour before the party, we set out to make our pot pie mixture that we based on Emeril's recipe, slightly adapting it to suit our tastes. For the shells, we cut puff pastry sheets into squares and placed two squares in a regular muffin tin to form a cup. Pricking the bottom all over with a fork reduced the "puffage" and voila - puff pastry cups to fill with lobster pot pie mixture!

Pot pie mixture with milk, cream, herbs and spices

Forming puff pastry cups

Golden-brown, puffed-up pastry cups

Mini Upside-Down Lobster Pot Pies
Makes 12

4 1 to 1 1/4-lb. live lobsters
water for stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
flour for work surface
cooking spray

To cook the lobster and make the stock:
Fill a large pot about two inches high with water. Add a small handful of kosher or sea salt. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and put in lobsters, one at a time. Cover tightly, return to a boil and steam for 8 minutes per pound, adding 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter (so about 17-18 minutes for four 1-lb. lobsters). Your lobsters are done when the outer shell is bright red and when the meat is white, not opaque; remove them carefully and discard the steaming water. Allow the lobsters to cool then remove the meat from the shell (pick them). Cut lobster meat into bite-sized pieces, set aside to cool completely, then refrigerate. Place all the shells back in the large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain out and discard the shells. Return the stock to the heat and simmer for 2 hours until reduced to about 1 1/2 - 2 cups.

To make the pot pie mixture:
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the brandy and cook until almost completely evaporated. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the shallots, stir to combine well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups lobster stock and the milk, and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook until thickened. Add the heavy cream, green peas, salt, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and thyme, and cook for 15 minutes, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and the flavors have come together. Set aside until cooled. Add the lobster meat, chives and tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the puff pastry cups and assemble the pot pies:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put pot pie mixture in a saucepan over medium heat to warm through. On a floured work surface, lay out the puff pastry sheets and cut them into 3-inch squares. Spray a regular size muffin tin with cooking spray. Lay two puff pastry squares overlapping in 6 of the muffin cups (alternating every other), allowing room for the pastry to puff around the sides of the cup. Prick the bottom of each muffin cup all over with a fork, then bake at 400 for 18 minutes, until puffy and golden brown. Remove puff pastry cups to individual bowls and fill with warm pot pie mixture. Repeat the entire process to make a total of 12.


yummychunklet said...

What a decadent dish! I ordered frozen versions as a gift from Williams-Sonoma, but I bet these taste infinitely better!

Anne@FromMySweetHeart said...

Wow guys! These lobster pies look amazing! I'm not at all into football...but I would have invited you over to my place if I knew you would be bringing these! I'm originally from New England as well! But I don't think I've ever had a lobster dish that looks this good! Just beautiful! : )

Dreams of cakes said...

I truly wish I had a bite. It looks delicious!!
I have an e-book Giveaway you might be interested in participating. It is a cookbook with Mediterranean recipes...

Unknown said...

Who knew a pot pie could look so elegant? Beautifully done!

fatpiginthemarket said...

I would totally invite you to all my sporty parties...especially if it involved New England. You'd bring these lobster pot pies, right?

Sweet and Salty SF said...

Wow, what a great idea to bring to a party! Must have been a hit! They look delicious!

The Duo Dishes said...

Brandy, lobster, cream, nutmeg. All nice ingredients to use together. Even though the Patriots didn't win, this is a great tribute.

jck said...

Decadent comfort food.. . Sounds perfect for AFTER the game, too.

Gisele aka LA2LAChef said...

Yum!!! I want one rightnow.

nancy at good food matters said...

Love these! rustic elegance at its best--lobster in a lush sauce...

Unknown said...

Absolutely fantastic. If you can't afford Lobster you can substitute with shrimp and or scallops. Really amazing.