Oyster Stew is a treasured tradition for Christmas Eve supper.
Oyster stew is traditionally what we make for Christmas Eve
supper. We look forward to eating it for weeks beforehand. On Christmas Eve day, we prepare it several hours before
we plan to serve it, simmering it on the stove and filling the house with the wonderful fragrance of the stew as it
gently cooks. If we are attending a party, I always offer to bring the oyster stew. The offer is always gratefully
accepted. We have never gone a Christmas Eve without eating our oyster stew!
One of the really nice things about oyster stew is that it is
pretty flexible. You will generally always have people who prefer the broth only, not wanting to eat the oysters,
so a large quantity of broth is important. Last minute visitors dropping in just before meal time? Quietly add more
milk or cream to the pot and let it come up to temperature, stirring to mix well. Then you are ready to serve the
additional guests as well.
We serve oyster stew with cheese and crackers. Sometimes we
add a salad. After the abundance and heaviness of the season up to Christmas Eve and the anticipation of the
upcoming Christmas feast, this meal is filling but light. Just perfect!
Our version of the recipe is very simple, allowing the briny
oyster flavor to shine through. A simple addition of salt and pepper to taste is all that it needs to be
Small crackers, such as oyster crackers
Fresh chopped parsley to garnish
1.Melt butter in a large heavy soup pot on
2.When the butter is just melted, add the
oysters and their juice. Cook on medium heat until they almost come to a boil. Immediately
turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the oysters are cooked through but
Raw oysters are
sorta slimy and limp, but they firm up and become succulent, like pictured below:
3.Add the cream and milk. Keep the heat on
low and simmer until needed, at least an hour and up to several hours. If a skim forms on
top, gently mix back in. It will dissolve back into the stew. If a “skin” forms on the bottom
of the pan, try not to stir that up into the stew since it will not dissolve. If the heat is
low enough, the skin should not form on the bottom. Stir periodically.
4.Serve hot with crackers and parsley for
garnish, if desired.