Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Zesty Oyster Bisque

Now's the time to enjoy fresh oysters, and what better way to do so than in this rich soup that's sure to warm you on a cold evening. This is my variation of an oyster bisque recipe from the Tabasco sauce people, and it makes 6 to 8 servings. Enjoy with freshly baked bread or rolls for a real treat!

1 pint shucked raw oysters, drained and reserve 1 cup of the oyster "liquor" or liquid
1 cup half & half (you can splurge and use heavy cream)
3 cups whole milk (you can use low-fat, but it won't be as tasty)
1 slice from a sweet onion
2 stalks of celery, washed & trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh parsley
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp Hog's Breath Key West Red Hot Sauce (more for a spicier soup)
A dash of Busha Browne's Spicy Hot Pepper Sherry (you can substitute regular cooking sherry but it will be less spicy)
Optional Garnish: Chopped fresh chives

Using a very sharp knife, chop the oysters and place in a saucepan with the oyster liquor. Gently heat just to the boiling point, then remove saucepan from heat and pour contents into a bowl and set aside. Add the milk, half & half, onion, celery, bay leaf and parsley to the saucepan and heat to scalding. Strain the milk into a separate bowl and set aside; discard the veggies & herbs. Melt the butter in the saucepan, then stir in the hot sauce, pepper sherry, salt & flour and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the scalded milk and cook while stirring over medium-low heat, until thickened. Stir in the oysters and cooked oyster liquor and cook while stirring until soup is heated through. Serve with a garnish of chopped chives, and an extra dash of hot sauce if desired.

Zestfully yours,

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