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Inaugural luncheon recipes

Jan. 21 is Inauguration Day and, while it’s a very important day politically, what’s even more exciting is the luncheon that follows. This year celebrate presidential style with some of the recipes from the very feast that the president will enjoy.

Inaugural luncheon recipes

A presidential feast

Jan. 21 is inauguration day and, while it’s a very important day politically, what’s even more exciting is the luncheon that follows. This year celebrate presidential style with some of the recipes from the very feast that the President will enjoy.

The White House posts all the menus from current and past inaugurations, dating back to 1981, including recipes since 2001, so that home cooks can enjoy the luncheon along with the president. Impress guests with a menu inspired by the inaugural luncheon, which has been a tradition for well over a century.

Inaugural luncheon 2009

Photo credit: U.S. Senate Photo Studio

The recipes for the inaugural luncheon are always elegant riffs on classic American flavors. This year, you’ll find steamed lobster with New England clam chowder sauce, hickory grilled bison with red potato horseradish cake and wild huckleberry reduction, and Hudson Valley apple pie with sour cream ice cream. Make the exact recipes or use them as a jumping off point for an inaugural luncheon of your own.

Get inauguration-themed items and decor from Etsy >>

Steamed lobster with New England clam chowder sauce recipe

Serves 4


For the steamed lobster tails:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/4 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cups mirepoix (1/4-inch dice of carrot, celery, onion and leek)
  • 4 (4-ounce) lobster tails
  • 1 large bowl ice water

For the New England clam chowder sauce:

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups canned clam juice
  • 20 Little Neck clams, rinsed in cold water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup peeled and diced Yukon gold potato
  • 1 cup diced leek
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup tarragon, chopped at the last minute


For the steamed lobster tails:

  1. Combine the water, salt, white wine, star anise, and mirepoix in an 8-quart pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Place lobster tails in a another 8 quart pot and carefully pour boiling liquid over lobster tails. Allow to steam for approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Remove the tails from the liquid and put in the ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. Remove tails from ice and begin to remove lobster meat from the shell.
  4. Cut each lobster tail into 6 large pieces, place in an ovensafe dish and add 2 tablespoons of water to the dish. Cover with a lid or foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Reheat lobster at time of serving by placing it in a 170 degree F oven for approximately 15 minutes.

For the New England clam chowder sauce:

  1. Combine the shallot, garlic, white wine and clam juice in a bowl.
  2. Place a large heavy bottom pot on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Carefully place clams in bottom of pot. Pour shallot liquid over clams quickly and cover with lid. The clams will begin to open after a few minutes.
  4. Once the clams are opened, remove the pot from the heat and place clams in a bowl to cool (reserve shallot liquid).
  5. Remove the clams from their shells and roughly chop (these will be added to sauce at the last minute).
  6. Strain the shallot liquid and place into a clean saucepot on medium heat to reduce by half (roughly 1 quart).
  7. In a separate sauce pot, saute the diced vegetable in the canola oil with pinch salt and pepper for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat.
  8. Add the clam liquid and heavy cream to the vegetables and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and allow sauce to reduce until your desired consistency and the vegetables are tender. The sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Add the chopped clams and chopped tarragon to the sauce. Spoon over the lobster just before serving.

More Recipes

Get the rest of the inaugural luncheon recipes here .

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