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If You’re Ready, Oysters Dear . . .

TIMES FOOD STYLIST

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Hearty Oyster Chowder

Pumpernickel bread

Celery and carrot sticks

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Carrot cake

Oyster stew is a New Year tradition. We’ve given this stew some substance by adding chunks of ham, potatoes and green peas, and turning it into a one-pot dinner.

To save time, use fresh shucked oysters rather than those in the shell. Cook the oysters just until the edges curl; this takes only a minute or two. To save more time, cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks: The smaller the pieces, the less time it will take to cook them.

If you’re having dinner guests and want to dress the chowder up, garnish with a dollop of caviar and serve with lemon wedges. Pumpernickel bread or rolls provide an earthy accompaniment to the oysters. Add an iced relish tray of celery, carrot sticks, jicama and assorted olives for crunchy nibbles.

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Staples

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic

1 small onion

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1 teaspoon flour

Salt

White pepper

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1 small cooked ham slice

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

3 red potatoes

2 (8-ounce) jars oysters with liquor

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2 pints half and half

1 (10-ounce) box frozen green peas

Optional Side-Dish Shopping

Pumpernickel bread

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1 bunch celery

1 bunch carrots

HEARTY OYSTER CHOWDER

2 tablespoons butter

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1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup minced onion

1 cup diced cooked ham

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

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3 red potatoes, cut into cubes

3 cups half and half

1 teaspoon flour

1 tablespoon water

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2 (8-ounce) jars oysters with liquor

Salt

White pepper

1/2 (10-ounce) box frozen peas

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Melt butter in large saucepan. Add garlic, onion and ham. Saute until onion is tender. Stir in clam juice. Heat to boiling. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer just until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in half and half. Bring to boil.

Blend together flour and water until smooth. Stir into chowder just until thickened. Add oysters. Simmer just until oysters begin to curl, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir in peas. Heat just until peas are hot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

503 calories; 978 mg sodium; 166 mg cholesterol; 32 grams fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 1.05 grams fiber; 58% calories from fat.

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