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Oyster Stew

1/4 lb pancetta, cut 1/4 inch thick
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
2 heads fennel, chopped
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
6 cup half and half
3 10-oz jars oysters and liquor (4 cups total)
3/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Pernod
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter

Put diced pancetta in a 5 qt. pan, along with chopped leeks, fennel,
and fennel seed. Stir often over med-high heat until soft (about
five minutes). Add cream and oysters and their liquor. Keep heat
at med-high. Stir often until hot, but not boiling(about four
minutes). Stir in 1/2 cup parsley, Pernod, salt and pepper. Ladle
into bowls, and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Dot each bowl with

NOTES : Although this dish calls for the use of oysters, there is
no reason why clams cannot be substituted. If you choose to do so,
it is suggested that decent sized steamer clams be used. I would
recommend approximately 4 dozen clams. Steam them ONLY until opened.
To facilitate their steaming, place 1/2 cup of water in bottom pan,
along with an additional half teaspoon of crushed fennel seed. When
opened, reserve clams and all liquid for use in the basic recipe.


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