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Oyster and Brie Soup

3 dozen small to medium oysters in their liquor
4 cups cold water
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 rib celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound Brie cheese, cut in small pcs
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup champagne
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 handful tasso, finely chopped
1/2 pound bacon, fried & crumbled

Combine oysters and water together and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Strain and reserve the oysters and water. In a large skillet melt
the butter over low heat. Add the flour and beat with a metal whisk
until smooth. Add the onions and celery, saute about 3 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Stir in the peppers and saute about 2 minutes
and set aside. In a 4 quart saucepan, bring the oyster water to a
boil. Stir in the sauteed vegetable mixture until well mixed. Turn
heat to high. Add cheese; cook until cheese starts to melt, about
2 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and continue
cooking for about 4 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat,
strain soup and return to pot. Turn heat to high and cook about 1
minute stirring constantly. Stir in cream; cook until close to a
boil, about 2 minutes. Add green onions and champagne if desired.
Lower heat and add the oysters and handful of tasso. Check the
seasoning at this point and add red pepper and salt to taste. When
oysters curl serve immediately in bread bowls with crumbled bacon
to garnish the top.


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