Papa’s Oyster Stew Recipe
"Growing up, every holiday season my father and I would go buy a Christmas Tree together, and then we would buy quarts of freshly shucked oysters to make his famous stew while trimming the tree. Freshly shucked oysters may seem a bit incongruous if you remember that my hometown is the extremely inland hamlet of Columbus, Georgia. But my father's good friends, the Lunsfords, owned Rose Hill Seafood, where they brought in oysters straight from Apalachicola, Florida. The flavor of those oysters, and especially this stew, is the flavor of my chilhood."
— Sarah O'Kelley, chef and co-founder of the Glass Onion.
From Glass Onion Classics
Yield: About 4 entree servings
1 quart shucked oysters and their liquor
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion (about one medium onion)
1 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Oyster crackers, for garnish
Place the oysters in a colander set over a bowl to drain off liquor. Reserve liquor and oysters.
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about ten minutes. Add the reserved oyster liquor and cook until reduced by half, about ten minutes. Add the milk and cream; bring to a simmer. Add the oysters; cook until their outer edges begin to curl, about five minutes. Serve hot with oyster crackers.
P.S. The stew might require more salt, depending on the salinity of the oysters, but it is best not to oversalt at the outset.
P.P.S. I love a lot of black pepper in creamy dishes like this stew, but feel free to use less than the recommended 2 teaspoons if your palate is sensitive to spice.