Jan 26, 2011

Recipe of the Week: N'awlins Oyster Soup

Our final week of celebrating soup month, and I might have just saved the best for last!

Several years ago, Mr. Official and I traveled to New Orleans for our anniversary, and had an amazing time even though the weather was a little nippy. One of the restaurants we visited was Arnaud's, a venerable French Quarter establishment known for its world-famous remoulade sauce. They served Mr. Official a particularly wonderful oyster soup. (Side note : oyster soup or stew is a Christmas Eve traditional dish for Catholics and especially in areas where fresh oysters are plentiful...places like New Orleans.) The restaurant was kind enough to email the recipe to me after we left. Merci beacoup, Chef Tommy! If you are a fan of oyster soup (or stew), this one is definitely bowl-worthy.

Arnaud's Oyster Soup

3 1/2 cups water
2 dozen freshly shucked oysters, drained
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add oysters and cook for 3 minutes. Remove oysters with a slotted spoon and reserve 3 cups liquid. Set both aside.

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook celery, green onions and onion in 1 tablespoon butter, stirring constantly until tender. Stir in 2 1/2 cups reserved broth, plus garlic, thyme, red pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Stir in whipping cream; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in milk and return to simmer. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook one minute, stirring constantly, then about 3 minutes or until smooth (mixture will be very thick.) Gradually add flour mixture to milk mixture, stirring with a wire whisk until blended. Add oysters, salt and white pepper. Cook until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and ladle into warm soup plates. Serves 4-6

Happy soup-ing,