Recipe for Oyster Stew

Oyster stew is a traditional dish for opening the Christmas holidays, often served on Christmas Eve as an appetizer before the main entrée. This rich, delicious stew is great for warming you up on a cold winter's night or for impressing guests before serving an elegant main entrée.

When buying oysters for making homemade oyster stew, you'll want to purchase live oysters. Oysters should be tightly closed and intact. Do not buy any oysters with cracked shells. Always scrub fresh oysters with a stiff brush under cold running water before cooking. It's best to buy oysters the day you plan to prepare them, but they can be kept on ice in the refrigerator for two days. The best live oysters are available in months that have the letter "r" in them-essentially autumn and winter months.

You can also buy prepackaged oysters. If you do so, make sure the liquid the oysters are packed in is clear. Oyster aficionados will tell you it's best to buy prepackaged oysters in the spring and summer when the fresh oysters are not as good.

Ingredients You Will Need:
2 pints shucked oysters with their liquor
or
36 fresh, live oysters and one cup water
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
½ sweet onion, minced
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 can corn, drained
5 drops Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Sliced green onions

Heat one cup water in a saucepan to boiling and add oysters. Cover pan and steam oysters until open, five to ten minutes. Discard any oysters that did not open. Place opened oysters in a platter and allow them to cool until you can handle them manually. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth and set aside. Cut the oyster meat from the shells and set aside also.

In a saucepan, heat the butter until melted. Sauté onions and red pepper in butter for three to five minutes, until onions are tender and begin to caramelize. Add milk, cream and ½ cup of oyster broth and cook over medium-low heat. Add in oyster meat, corn, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper and heat until oysters are heated through. Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top of each cup of oyster stew before serving. Enjoy!

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