Virginia Oyster Stew
Fresh oysters are a big deal on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, so a classic Oyster Stew has become a Christmas Eve tradition in this part of the country!
Servings 4 people (1 cup per serving)
- 1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
- ½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pint shucked oysters, liquor included
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- For garnish: chopped fresh chives, sliced green onions, or a dash of paprika
Place milk, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium saucepan or soup pot. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, just until hot (about 10 minutes). Do not boil.
In a separate skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add the oysters, liquor and Worcestershire sauce. Sauté until the edge of the oysters just begin to curl (2-3 minutes). Transfer the oyster mixture to the pot of milk, and cook over medium-low heat for about 2 more minutes. Do not boil.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chives or paprika, if desired.
Recipe slightly adapted from the cookbook Dishing Up Virginia
- Do not strain off the oyster liquor from the jar of oysters. This liquid adds delicious, briny, rich flavor to the broth.
- How to keep oyster stew from curdling: With any milk or cream-based soup, it's important to make sure that you don't let the soup get too hot, or the liquid will curdle. Keep the stew over medium-low or low heat and watch it closely. It's also important to allow the milk and cream to come to room temperature before adding it to the pot.
- Use whole milk (not a lower-fat alternative), since the whole milk is less likely to curdle when cooked.
- This recipe yields 4 cups of stew, or enough for about 4 small servings. If you would like to serve this dish to a larger group, you can multiply all of the ingredients accordingly. For instance, double the ingredients for 8 cups, triple the ingredients for 12 cups, and so on.
- Garnish each bowl with green onions, chives, parsley, or other fresh herbs for a bright touch that nicely balances the rich, creamy broth.
Serving: 1cup | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.2g | Protein: 11.9g | Fat: 20.3g | Saturated Fat: 12.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.3g | Cholesterol: 99.2mg | Sodium: 629.7mg | Potassium: 215.7mg | Sugar: 5.6g