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Calypso Oyster Stew
Yield: 6 Servings

2 c jarred or freshly shucked small oysters and their liquor
1/2 c clam juice or chicken stock
2 sl raw bacon minced
1 c button mushrooms or chanterelles, thinly sliced
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c thinly sliced celery
1/2 c small-diced carrot
1/2 c diced red bell pepper
1/2 c dry or medium-dry sherry
1/2 ts dry thyme
1/4 to 1/2 ts Tabasco
1 c cooked red potatoes; large-diced or quartered
1 tb cornstarch
1 1/4 c half-and-half
3/4 ts salt or to taste
1/4 ts pepper or to taste
1 tb chopped parsley
lemon wedges; for serving

Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor, and set aside. Measure
the oyster liquor and add the clam juice or chicken stock to make
3/4 cup total. Set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the bacon over
medium-high heat until about half cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the
mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot and red pepper and reduce the heat
to medium. Saute the vegetable mixture about 4 minutes, stirring
often. Stir in the sherry and thyme, followed by the oyster liquor
mixture, Tabasco and potatoes. Raise the heat and bring to a boil
and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir the cornstarch into the half-and-half and whisk this mixture
into the gently boiling stew. Add the oysters immediately. Heat
just until the oysters get plump and their edges are ruffled, 1 to
2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving
bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges
for squeezing.


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