Angela's Holiday Oyster Stew
Oyster stew is a traditional Christmas Eve meal. I didn't like any of the recipes I found, so I wrote my own. This is an easy stew to make and very satisfying!
Servings 8 servings
- 1 large shallot, small dice (or two smallish ones) sub about 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
- 1 med carrot, scrubbed, halved and finely sliced dice if carrot is large; about 1/3 cup
- 1 med leek, cleaned, halved then finely sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely diced, about 2/3 cup
- 3 cloves garlic, minced about 1.5 Tbl
- olive oil for cooking veg, about 1 Tbl
- 1 tsp each, S/P use white pepper if you prefer
- 4 Tbl butter I always use salted
- 4 Tbl flour, any type
- 1/4 cup sherry optional
- 1 med lemon, zest and juice about 1-2Tbl juice, to taste
- 4 cups fish stock sub veg stock
- 2 Tbl sherry vinegar sub white wine or champagne vinegar
- 2 Tbl L&P Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbl Frank's Hot sauce or whatever you like
- 1 16oz container shucked oysters with liquor, cut into bite sized pieces (they are LARGE; 4-5 pc EA) OR 1-2 dozen large freshly shucked oysters (SEE NOTES)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream, up to 3/4 cup, to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream or crème fraîche optional, but adds thickness
- 2 Tbl fresh tarragon, minced +/- to taste; sub basil (use HALF for dry)
- 1 Tbl fresh mint, minced optional but lovely with tarragon or basil (HALF for dry)
- 2 Tbl fresh parsley, minced adds freshness, use fresh parsley or omit
- fennel fronds for garnish
- Do all your prep first. Have all ingredients ready to go.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Cover bottom with olive oil and gently sweat shallot, celery, carrots, leeks, fennel and garlic.
- When veg is translucent, add butter and when melted, add flour. Stir the flour, butter and veg and turn up the heat to med hi while stirring.
- Add lemon zest and sherry, stir. Add fish stock and turn up heat to hi. Bring to boil for one minute, reduce to simmer.
- At simmer, add sherry vinegar, L&P, Franks and herbs. Taste for S/P levels. Add oysters and liquor. Cook at simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Off heat, add cream, lemon juice and sour cream, then check seasoning one more time.
- Serve with fennel fronds and a swirl of Franks. Toasted baguette is great for this soup.
Do make an effort to use fresh herbs for this stew. They really do make all the difference. I use a LOT of tarragon because I love fresh tarragon and it goes so well with fennel. Feel free to dial it back if you don't like that anise flavour. Or omit and use basil instead. I like a bright taste, so I used about 2Tbl lemon juice. Tune the amount to your taste. SAME with the cream. You want a balance between cream and citrus. If the stew is too thick, thin a bit with water. Mine was too thin, so I doubled the butter and flour. The pre-shucked oysters are very large, they were cut into 4-5 pcs EACH. If you shuck fresh oysters, you need about 30-40 pcs, so figure your amount that way. This recipe makes about 2 quarts. It CANNOT be frozen due to the cream.