Cooking with Sherry Advice
I have a recipe for Lobster Stew that calls for 1 1/2 cups sherry. The recipe yields 2 quarts of stew. I plan to double this recipe, and wondered if I should also double the amount of sherry - or should I cut it back a bit? I have no experience cooking with sherry but three cups seems like a lot, even for 4 quarts of stew. Would love the benefit of your collective wisdom!
1-1/2 cups of sherry seems like an awful lot to begin with. My instinct says doubling it would be too much, and if more liquid is needed it seems likely that a little water would do fine in a recipe with lobster - but it's hard to say for sure. Maybe share the original recipe so we can better advise you?
I thought it seemed like a lot too. This is a Lidia Shire recipe, and was on Emril.
Here is the recipe -
6 live 1-pound lobsters
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dry Sherry (either amantillado or fino), plus 1/2 cup
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge the lobsters head first into the boiling water, in batches, if necessary, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer the lobsters with tongs to a large bowl filled with ice water to cool. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, crack the shells, remove the tail and claw meat, and coarsely chop. Reserve the shells. Tightly cover the meat and refrigerate.
In a large Dutch oven, melt 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter over medium-high heat. Add the shells and cook, stirring, until they turn bright red, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the Sherry and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the milk, cream, paprika, salt, and pepper, and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight for the flavors to develop.
Remove the milk and shell mixture from the refrigerator and strain into a clean container through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside. In a large, heavy pot, melt the remaining 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped lobster meat and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of Sherry and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and until reduced by half. Add the strained milk mixture and bring to a low boil. Simmer, stirring, until heated through.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Spoon into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
I don't think I would double the sherry........it already sounds like the sherry might overpower even tho most of the alcohol taste would dissipate. I'd try it first with about 2 cups...........Taste and see if you want more.......once it's in there, you can't get it back out!
On a side note..........I lean more to Marsala than Sherry these days for cooking (and sometimes sipping). It's a tiny bit sweeter and milder IMHO
So in the recipe, it looks like the original only actually gives 3/4 cup added liquid after reducing the sherry in both steps. I wouldn't use water in this now that I see the recipe. What I think I would do for recipe-doubling is similar to what FriedClamFanatic says - except that I wouldn't add a whole 2 cups of sherry to the shells. I think I would see what 1-1/2 cups (reduced to 3/4 cup) tasted like in the first step and then if it seems like it doesn't have enough of the sherry taste after the refrigeration step, I'd use more than the 1/2 cup in the step deglazing the pan with the lobster meat. I think this would be a fairly safe way of doing it. I'm not sure you would need to make up for the loss of liquid. I don't know if this is very helpful but I tend to do a lot by taste and smell, so if it seemed like it was too milky and not giving off that distinct sherry note, that's what would make my decision. And if it really seemed like the sherry was lost (which I doubt) there's nothing wrong with serving a little in a pitcher on the table for people to drizzle in...
There are several types of sherry which differ considerably, so the first question is: what type of sherry does the recipe call for? I normally use manzanilla, the driest, but for lobster you might use something as flavorful as amontillado. If you use the latter, I would be cautious so as not to use too much.
Avoid any cream sherry or "cooking" sherry.