Oyster stew

Serves 4

If you're lucky enough to have some leftover oysters, or alternatively, if you have some of those great big oysters that aren't so tempting to slide into your mouth, here's what to do with them. This stew is an American-style concoction but probably influenced a bit by the Irish oyster-eating culture.

50g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A 100g piece of rindless streaky bacon
1tbsp flour
Half a glass of dry white wine
1 litre fish stock
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 leek, cut into cm squares, washed
2 celery sticks, cut into rough cm squares
300g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into rough cm squares
12 large oysters, shucked and juices reserved
100ml double cream
2tbsp chopped parsley

Cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft, stirring every so often. Add the flour, gradually stir in the wine and stock to avoid lumps forming, bring to the boil, season, add the celery and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the leeks and potato and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, then blend one-fifth of the soup in a liquidiser until smooth and stir back into the soup. Add the cream, parsley and oysters with any juice, re-season if necessary and simmer for another 2-3 minutes before serving.

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