Chef John Folse's Cajun Oyster Stew in Patty Shells

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings

Many recipes claim to be the original oyster stew of New Orleans, but the brown oyster stew is likely to be the original. Cream or milk used in many oyster stews today were not found in New Orleans recipes in the early 1700s. Additionally, oysters were not considered edible until the Indians in Bayou Country introduced the Cajuns to the delicacy. With the addition of the dark brown roux of the Cajuns, the brown oyster stew was born.

24 select oysters
6 patty shells
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 quarts oyster liquid
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Check with your seafood supplier in advance to have 2 quarts of oyster liquid reserved. If oyster liquid is not available, purchase 1 extra pint of oysters and purée in a blender with 1 1/2 quarts cold water. Bake patty shells according to package directions then set aside. In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a dark brown roux is achieved. (See roux recipes.) Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Slowly add oyster liquid and whisk until well blended. Remember that once fresh oysters are added, natural juices will thin out stew. Simmer 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally, then add oysters. Cook until edges of oysters are curled, but not overcooked. Garnish with green onions and parsley then season with salt and pepper. Ladle a generous serving of oyster stew into center of patty shell. Serve as an appetizer or entrée.