For many families, Christmas Eve is made a little more complete with the addition of oyster stew for dinner. It’s easy to see why. In addition to its great flavor, the stew is simple to make. That means you should use the best ingredients you can find.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for garnish
1 cup minced celery
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 pint half-and-half
1 pint whole milk
24-ounces freshly shucked oysters in their liquid (also known as liquor) or 2 (12-ounce) cans oysters undrained
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
Black pepper, to taste, optional
Melt butter in a saucepan with celery and shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes until tender.
In a stockpot over medium-high heat, pour in the half-and-half and milk. Add celery mixture and heat until almost boiling. Add oysters in their liquor. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste. Stir until oysters are cooked through, which is when they curl at the edge. Serve immediately. Garnish each bowl with a pat of butter, if desired. Serve with rustic bread or oyster crackers.
Makes 4-6 servings.
From John Griffin