In Louisiana, a full Sunday dinner is served at noon, after church. So in the early evening, a light meal is preferred and in the winter, when fresh Oysters are bountiful, what could be better than Oyster Stew? Often called Oyster Soup, this simple to prepare stew is served with crackers or French bread and fresh butter. Add green salad with a classic vinaigrette to round out the meal or serve smaller portions and serve Oyster Stew as a first course.
Makes 4 main course servings/ 6 first course servings
6 tablespoons stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
24 large oysters, shucked and drained, reserving oyster liquor*
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt or to taste
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
4 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Butter or sherry for garnish
In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for several minutes to make a light roux.
Add the celery and shallots and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the milk, half and half, 1/4 cup of the oyster liquor, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 – 5 minutes as the liquid begins to thicken slightly.
Add the parsley, green onions, garlic, and oysters. Bring back to a gentle boil and cook 3 – 4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl.
Remove from heat and ladle into warm bowls. Garnish with a pat of butter or a dash of sherry and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper, if you like.
For a thinner soup, omit the half and half and increase the milk by 1 cup (total of 2 cups milk).
For a thicker soup/stew, omit the milk and increase the half and half by 1 cup (total of 2 cups half and half).
You can add more of the oyster liquor, to taste but remember that it will thin the stew.