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Lobster pie is a dish that tends to be most commonly made in the New England region of the United States and consists of cooked lobster in a butter-based sauce that is topped with a crumb crust. New England is a region of the United States consisting of the northeastern states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Due to these states’ proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the regional cuisine generally is centered on fresh seafood, particularly lobster, which is often served in a variety of regional dishes.
The process of making a traditional New England lobster pie typically begins by preparing the lobster. Either fresh or frozen lobster may be used in making the dish. When fresh lobster is used, it is generally recommended to only boil the lobster until it is only halfway cooked through. This process, referred to as parboiling, ensures that the lobster meat will not become overcooked and have a tough texture when it is added to the hot pie filling. If frozen lobster is used for the dish, it is usually not recommended to defrost it, as it could potentially lose some of its flavor.
Once the lobster is selected and prepared, the next step is making the lobster sauce, which serves as the filling for a lobster pie. The exact recipe for the lobster sauce filling for the pie may vary depending on the cook, but it typically consists of butter and flour cooked together to form a thick base. Heavy cream or wine is then whisked into the butter and flour mixture to create a creamy sauce. The lobster is then stirred into the sauce and cooked over a low temperature just until the lobster is heated through. Some versions of the pie may call for additional ingredients added to the sauce, such as whisked egg yolks to thicken it or garlic or herbs to add more flavor, while other versions may skip the sauce altogether and simply use unadorned lobster with no sauce as the pie filling.
Although the dish is known as a lobster pie, it does not usually consist of the same type of bottom crust that a traditional pie has. Instead, the lobster sauce is poured into a dish and covered with a topping that is referred to as the crust. It is generally made by combining crushed crackers with melted butter and sprinkling it over the lobster sauce. The pie may then be baked until the topping becomes golden, or it may be served as is without baking the topping.
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