a romantic lobster stew from Sonoma

A Lobster Stew from Sonoma Made with Chardonnay

A Chardonnay-laced lobster stew

This recipe comes to us from Donelan Family Wines in Sonoma County, California. Donelan is a small, family-run winery know for Chardonnay. They sent us this Chardonnay-laced lobster stew recipe as a suggestion for a Thanksgiving dinner appetizer.

Cooking with aphrodisiacs

This luxurious recipe not only features Donelan Chardonnay but also one of the world’s most legendary aphrodisiacs, lobster. We love this soup it for its velvety texture and the fact that, despite how creamy the soup feels, it calls for very little cream. We also love the balance of acidity  the Chardonnay brings to the final flavor. It also gives the final soup’s flavor a sort of roundness. It makes the soup touch every taste bud sensor with exciting flavor. What could be more romantic than a soup that combines the delicacy of aphrodisiac lobster and the subtle flavor of aphrodisiac wine?

The Donelan family recommends this stew as a starter for Thanksgiving dinner. Although we agree that it would put a decadent Turkey Day feast over the top, we think this lobster stew would make a brilliant romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day or any winter night. Whenever you decide to serve it, this sensual recipe is sure to heat up your evening.

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a romantic lobster stew from Sonoma
Donelan Lobster Stew
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 55 mins

This sensual lobster stew is a perfect warm-up on a cold winter evening. It serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course. 

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lobster
Dish Type: soup
Seasonal: Christmas, Halloween, Holiday season, New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, winter
Ingredient: lobster
Servings: 8 as an appetizer
  • 2 lb live lobster
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions; chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic; coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 28 oz canned plum tomatoes with the juice
  • 1 cup Donelan Nancie Chardonnay
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 medium round white potatoes; peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add lobster and cook until shells are red but meat is not yet cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove with tongs to a rimmed baking sheet, save cooking liquid.
  4. When cool enough to handle, crack the shells over a bowl, saving as much juice as possible. Extract the tail and claw meat, chop it into 1 or 1/2 inch chunks, and reserve.
  5. In a second large stock pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and fennel over medium heat.
  6. Sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until they are soft.
  7. Remove pot from heat and add brandy, return to heat and cook until brandy is almost evaporated.
  8. Add 1 cup of the lobster cooking liquid, the plum tomatoes and juice and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  9. Add the Donelan Nancie Chardonnay, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and saffron.
  10. Bring the mixture to a simmer; cover it and cook for about 40 minutes.
  11. After the 40 minutes is up, add the potato and cook until the potato is soft. Remove the bay leaves.
  12. Remove the soup from the stove and let it cool.
  13. Just before serving, return the soup to the stove and slowly bring it to a gentle simmer.
  14. Stir in the heavy cream, cooked lobster and season to taste with sea salt and ground white pepper.
  15. Immediately ladle into warm soup bowls.
  16. Pair with the rest of the Nancie Chardonnay.


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