Splurge at Home with a Delicious Maine Lobster Pot Pie

Looking for a gourmet special occasion splurge of a dinner idea?  Here is one from a favorite five-star restaurant.  I absolutely love the Michael Mina chain of restaurants and have visited the San Francisco and Las Vegas locations.  I’m typically in Las Vegas at least once a year on business, so while I’m there I always plan for a dinner at the Michael Mina restaurant in the Bellagio.  Reservations are a must, and I will arrange my week around this dinner (they are closed on Sundays).  Note that this restaurant will blow a sizable hole in your wallet, even if you’re on a typical corporate expense account.  That said, the food, service, and ambiance are out of this world.

The dining room at Michael Mina in Las Vegas from Forbes Travel Guide

According to Zagat’s,

“An amazing dining experience” awaits at this Bellagio offshoot of Michael Mina’s San Francisco New American, where an “expertly prepared” menu starring “excellent” seafood (including a “scrumptious” lobster pot pie) is presented by “professional” servers who go “out of their way to discuss what’s special about every dish”; the “beautiful setting” is an “oasis of calm” amid the bustle of the Strip, bolstering agreement that the “steep” tabs are “worth every penny.”

My favorite entré is their phyllo-crusted sole which sells for $58.  Another tempting menu item was always the lobster pot pie, which at $88 would scare me away as a bit too self-indulgent.  I was thrilled a few years ago when I found the recipe online at the cookstr website and decided to try it at home.  It is one of those recipes that I make when I see whole lobsters on sale at my local market for $9.99 per pound as you need a whole lobster for each individual pie.  I usually find them at this price here in LA for New Year’s and again in the summer.  Note that this recipe is easy to adjust if you just remember use one lobster per pie and adjust the remaining ingredients accordingly.

This recipe is not difficult, but it is a bit time-consuming.  The ingredients are naturally a bit expensive because of the lobster so this is a special event splurge — think Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve dinners.  Be sure to read through the entire recipe in advance as the directions aren’t in the order that you would make the pies and there are a lot of steps.  Specifically, the pâte briséee preparation is in step 22, but this really should be your first action.  You can make the pâte briséee ahead of time or use store-bought phyllo dough.  The recipe suggests using a food processor for this crust, but as I worked on my #piegoals last year, I found that using my stand mixer enabled me to achieve even flakier results.

btb_p-08_lobster-baseAnother way to speed things up is by asking your seafood vendor to steam, clean, and crack the lobsters for you.    This will save you a bit of prep time and you can use the largest shells when you prepare the cream sauce.  I keep a jar of Better than Bouillon lobster base in my refrigerator and add a touch of it to the sauce for an extra rich cream sauce.  One important change that I recommend is to lightly saute all of the vegetables, not just the mushrooms as you prepare to assemble the pies.  Once the pies are assembled, you can sit back and relax while they bake and await the compliments.  Enjoy, and have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!