Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: Oyster stew for Christmas

Over a Cup of Coffee

— When I was a child, it was a tradition to have Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve, after which we opened Christmas cards and passed them around the table.

I still make the soup at Christmas, sometimes. The recipe I use for Oyster Stew comes from my recipe book that has the front and back parts missing. The ingredients are: 1 pint of milk, 1/2 cup cream (20 percent butterfat), 1/4 cup butter, 1 pint oysters and the liquid, 1 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper. These ingredients make four servings of soup. Heat the milk and cream to scalding. Melt butter in a saucepan, and add oysters and their liquid. Cook gently just until oyster edges curl. Add to the scalded milk and cream and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with oyster crackers. I think the leftover stew is even better warmed up the next day.

Note: Experiment with different kinds of lowfat milk products when making this soup.

We enjoy the Oyster Stew with sliced summer sausages and cheeses and fresh vegetables and dips. This menu is great for a holiday gathering. You can serve the meal with colorful paper plates and bowls.

Because the weather has been so cold, I've been making lots of soups. This past weekend, I tried a new recipe for vegetable beef soup. It's another Fence Post recipe, contributed by Chris Bryant of Johnson City, Tenn.

The ingredients for Morn's Vegetable Beef Soup are: 2 to 3 pounds cubed beef, 3 quarts water, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 medium onion chopped, 1 cup celery chopped, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cup sliced potatoes, 1 cup shredded cabbage, 1 can Italian tomatoes and 1/3 cup rice.

Combine the beef, water, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a large kettle. Cook until the meat is tender, usually 2 to 3 hours. Add more water if needed.

Add onion, celery, sliced carrots and potatoes, shredded cabbage and Italian tomatoes. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons parsley flakes. Add rice.

Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.

I decided to make this recipe last minute and didn't have any beef thawed and ready to cube. So I substituted ground beef.

I browned the ground beef, added about 1 teaspoon of salt, the Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon pepper. I added the rest of the vegetables as called for in the recipe, about 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of beef bouillon granules. I added the granules because I reasoned the soup would be missing the beef broth from cooking the meat cubes.

I recommend making the soup as directed. It was good but not as rich as if made with the slowly-cooked meat cubes.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Don't forget to send your recipes to me at Box 415, Craig 81626, or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved

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