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1-pint oysters with their liquor jarred or freshly shucked, about 2 dozen*

5 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

2 celery stalks, minced

1 medium yellow or white onion, minced

1 3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup cream (can use all milk if you want)

Splash of Tabasco, Crystal, or other hot sauce

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup parsley, minced

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Strain the oyster juice through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl to remove any grit. Reserve the juices. Rinse the oysters well, under cold water. Put them in a bowl.
  2. Make a roux: Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for a few minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add celery and onions: When the roux turns the color of coffee-with-cream, stir in the celery and onions. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the oyster juice and any juices the oysters in the bowl have released. The flour in the roux will absorb the liquid and turn into a paste. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate as you pour them in. Add a healthy splash or two of hot sauce, to taste.
  5. Heat the soup to steamy, but below a simmer, over low heat, cook for 15 minutes. (Do not let the soup boil!)
  6. Add oysters: If you are working with large oysters, you may want to chop them into bite-sized pieces. Add the oysters and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters just begin to curl.

If you want the stew to be more like a smooth soup, purée until smooth.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley to serve.