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Oyster Stew

Oysters were eaten by Native Americans long before European settlement of what became the United States. The natives sustainably harvested oysters for thousands of years but with the colonists came over-harvesting. By the end of the Civil War, the oyster beds in New England were depleted. Creamy preparations of oyster stew didn’t develop until colonists from England brought their preferences for milk, cream, and butter. Oyster stew has, in New England and the South, been traditionally associated with holiday meals, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve celebrations.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Total Time
35 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the celery and shallots and cook until shallots are tender, about 3–4 minutes.
  3. In a large pot, heat the half-and-half over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the celery and shallot mixture, stirring continuously.
  5. When almost at a boil, add the oysters and their liquid, then season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
  6. Cook, stirring continuously, until the oysters are finished, curling at the ends.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.

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