After 200 years, a famous recipe revealed: Grandma Gregory’s Lobster Stew takes Great Chili Chowder Award

February 27, 2016 - garden totes

Just after a James Beard Foundation winners were announced final week, a opposite kind of food foe was underway, Altrusa’s Great Chili Chowder contest. The large chowder leader this year was Free Range Fish Lobster whose entrance “Grandma Gregory’s Lobster Stew” took home both Judges’ and a People’s Choice awards for a initial time.

“We took it all,” pronounced Joe Ray, boss of a fish wholesaler, who along with his partner, Bill Denley, worked a cook-off and supposed a award.

The winning recipe has been upheld down for some-more than 200 years in a Bill Denley family. In a 1790s chronicle of farm-to-table, a strange butter and a divert in a recipe came from Elizabeth Gregory’s garden. Of course, a lobster was local, and so abundant she also used them to fertilize a garden.

While not a inhabitant competition, there was no necessity of ego during during this year’s chowder contest; Bill Denley says Free Range does not contest each year, since many of a participants are restaurants and so business or intensity business of his company.

Entrants are mostly restaurants, seafood distributors and 3 comparison residences — including a People’s Choice Chili Winner, The Park Danforth — and a caterer paid $100 to enter, and donating a food, while tasters paid $23 dollars to try their chilis and chowders, lifting around $5,000 for a internal section of Altrusa, that powers education programs for immature children in Portland. So a foe is for a many partial friendly.

Free Range took a People’s Choice for chowder in 2010 and 2013, though came in second final year, and a judges comparison a chowder from Ri Ra. Winning both this year is a coup.

The esteem chowder, a 20-gallon lobster stew, was done with 40 pounds of lobster, half-and-half and cheddar cheese. Carrot and onion puree and a bit of evaporated divert supplement sweetness, Denley said. He schooled a recipe as a teen from his good grandmother, Maude Estelle Savage Palmer, who lived to be 105. Palmer told him she remembered picking lobsters from underneath seaweed during a beach when a waves went out.

There is some-more sea science in a family: Maude Estelle was named after a ship, a Maude Estelle, that grandfather, Captain Jeremiah Gregory mislaid in a charge off a seashore of a Bahamas. Maine trivia lovers: Grandfather Gregory is also an contriver of a doughnut hole, as a approach to make greasy cakes prepare some-more uniformly by expelling a slimy undercooked middle.

in 2005, 7 generations later, Denley, a counsel who also owned lobster boat, and Ray, who worked in a fish market, bought Free Range out of bankruptcy. After a initial uneasy year, a span gutted a Free Range building, invested in several hundred thousand dollars of  equipment and got absolved of a grill kitchen. Sales tripled;  today a association ships some-more than 1 million pounds of seafood a year, and another 1 million sole locally to restaurants and by a sell store.

Denley has had several successful businesses, including owning debt companies, served a army as a State Senator in New Hampshire, and is now a owners of a tiny hotel in Costa Rica. So on a standard morning, Ray is a one who gets adult during 6 to bid for fish on a Portland, Bedford and Gloucester, Mass. fish exchanges; his group on a belligerent eyeball a fish and content him a measure piece that looks like a high propagandize news card, afterwards he bids for a locate digitally.

Ray also buys approach from a boats of about 15 Portland lobstermen, assembly them during a docks off his Commercial Street storage unit, where cosmetic totes of lobster are dumped into crates in cold pools, mostly utilizing pumped in sea water.  

While a problem of tellurian warming pulling a molluscs serve north ranks as a vital concern, Ray says a internal lobster race has benefited from reduced series of cod, who “like opening cleaners on a bottom of a ocean” are a crustacean’s categorical predators. Once, years ago, he cut open a outrageous cod and it was full of baby lobsters.

“Don’t imitation that,” he adds, ““Or I’ll be out in a bar removing a teeth knocked out by a cod fisherman.” A fighter in his youth, Ray is usually partly joking.

As a day-to-day operator, he is a one who has to negotiate cost with a fishermen and they don’t always see eye-to-eye. But final week, Denley took over as cook during a chowder cook-off. “All we do during these shows,” Ray says, “is get bossed around.”  


Grandma Gregory’s winning Lobster Stew



1 bruise lobster, knuckles, claws, and  tail

One quart of half and half

1 half can evaporated divert — 6 oz

Half carrot, one tiny yellow onion pureed

Ten ounces of fish batch (chicken in a pinch)

Black pepper

One oz cream sherry

.25 to One hang of butter  

1 oz shredded additional pointy cheddar cheese


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