Note: For best results, use Matunuck Oysters if at all possible. If Matunuck Oysters are not available where you live, be sure to make this recipe using the best quality, fresh, raw oysters you can find. (We used Island Creek Oysters which are larger than Matunuck Oysters but available locally to where we live.)
- 2 dozen fresh Matunuck Oysters (see note above)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- ¼ cup shallots, finely minced
- 3 large or 4 small whole sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups light cream
- 1 cup peeled sweet potato, diced into small pieces
- 1 cup peeled parsnips, diced into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Oyster crackers to serve with the stew, optional
- Using a towel and shucking knife, shuck oysters over a bowl, retaining the liquid that comes out of the shell. Reserve oysters in a second bowl picking out any bits of shell that may have broken off.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add shallots and whole sprigs of rosemary.
- Cook over medium for 10-15 minutes until shallots are caramelized.
- Add heavy and light cream, bring to a slight simmer and cook 10 more minutes, never letting the mixture boil. Use a thermometer and don’t let the temperature rise above 170 degrees F. If it does, remove from the heat to bring the temperature down.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the cream mixture. Discard the solids.
- In a medium soup pot, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and add the potatoes and parsnips. Stir and cook for five to ten minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not over cooked.
- Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon and cook over medium low for three minutes.
- Slowly add the cream mixture, stirring as you add and return to a slow simmer.
- Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper and stir.
- Pour the oyster liquor through a strainer and into the stew, stopping just as you get to the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Discard that sediment.
- Bring the mixture to a slow simmer and taste. Season as needed. (I can tell you that Chef Jeff Cruff developed this recipe to be perfectly seasoned as is.)
- One minute before serving, add shucked oysters, simmer one minute then serve immediately with oyster crackers.