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Maryland Oyster Stew
“This delicate oyster soup recipe sets the tone for celebration at any meal. We made this stew healthier by primarily using low-fat milk and increasing the amount of vegetables. Don't worry about shucking the oysters—most supermarket seafood departments carry shucked oysters. Serve with crusty bread to sop up all the delicious bits at the bottom of the bowl.”
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced white onion
1 cup diced celery, plus ¼ cup chopped celery leaves, divided
2 pints shucked oysters, liquid reserved
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon paprika
3½ cups low-fat milk
½ cup heavy cream
3 dashes hot sauce
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion and diced celery, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and very tender but not browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
2Meanwhile, cut oysters in half or quarters, depending on size. Pour the oyster liquid through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out any grit.
3Stir salt and paprika into the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the strained oyster liquid, milk, cream and hot sauce. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
4Reduce heat to a simmer and gently add the oysters. Cook just until their edges begin to curl, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with pepper. Garnish with celery leaves and chives.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 3, cover and hold for up to 1 hour or refrigerate stew and oysters separately for up to 1 day. To serve, reheat and finish with Step 4.