Rich and creamy oyster stew — sometimes served over puff pastry shells (a preparation known as oyster patties) or cooked with artichoke hearts — is a restaurant classic and a popular Thanksgiving first course in New Orleans. This recipe is from Antoine's, a 160-year-old French Quarter restaurant and America's oldest family-run establishment.
50 medium oysters, such as bluepoints, shucked (about 1 1⁄2 lbs.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved 12 tbsp. unsalted butter 5 tbsp. flour 4 ribs celery, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 large onion, finely chopped 1⁄2 cup finely chopped curly parsley 1 tbsp. kosher salt 1 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper 2 cups milk 2 cups heavy cream
1. Combine oyster liquor with 1 cup water in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the oysters and simmer until their edges just begin to curl, about 2 minutes. Strain oysters through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl. Reserve oysters and cooking liquid separately. Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add celery, garlic, onions, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until onions and celery are very soft, about 25 minutes.
2. Stir in milk, cream, and reserved oysters with their cooking liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until just hot, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.