Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oyster Stew: A Christmas Eve Tradition

Ingredients for oyster stew.

Having oyster stew on Christmas Eve is a long-standing tradition in our family.  I doubt there has been a Christmas Eve since I was a child that I've not had oyster stew.  My father always made the oyster stew when I was growing up.  I remember he would get the oysters at the Ora Mill Supermarket near the Dover Mill Village.  The oysters came in a pint sized cylindrical waxed (probably with paraffin) paper container that had a top cover that slipped down over the bottom part. That would be enough for the four of us.   My sister didn't like the oysters, but she did like the oyster-flavored broth.

My recipe for oyster stew for two:
One pint of fresh oysters  (don't use canned oysters)
One pint of half and half or whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place oysters and their liquid in a heavy saucepan and heat until the edges of the oysters curl.  Do NOT bring to a boil.  Heat to just below boiling point. Boiling will make the oysters tough.
Heat until edges of oysters curl.  Don't boil.

Add one pint of half and half. (I always use half and half for this recipe.  In most cases we use skim milk at our house, but I ALWAYS use half and half for oyster stew.)
Heat to just below boiling point. (Again do not let this come to a boil.)
Heat to just below boiling point.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Yields: two servings 
Delicious oyster stew.

Oyster stew is on the menu for our Christmas Eve dinner tonight as usual.  Since I left home, I've made oyster stew every Christmas Eve, so my children always expect oyster stew and they are never disappointed.  My grandchildren have not yet developed a taste for it, but I'm betting they will as they get older. 

Expecting ten, perhaps eleven, for dinner tonight.  Can't wait to play "dirty Santa gift exchange."

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