George Cowan's Oyster Stew

December 11, 2015

Author Notes: Stew is a funny name for my grandpa's traditional Christmas Eve soup, since it's just whole milk, flavored with chopped fresh oysters, plus butter, pepper, and celery salt swirling across the top. It's a bit like an oyster pan roast or chowder, but barer in bones. There's no room to hide—so the better and fresher your oysters, the better it all will taste. Adapted slightly from my parents' website, The Online Cookbook.Kristen Miglore

Makes: 8 bowls


  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 2 to 3 8-ounce jars of fresh oysters (24 to 36 oysters, shucked)
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or use more celery salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Heat milk in double boiler (or just on low heat).
  2. Dice oysters and place in stew pan with 1 cup water, butter, celery salt, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bring to simmer and simmer gently for seven minutes.
  4. Add oyster mixture to milk in double boiler.
  5. Simmer gently at least two hours. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it is, or if it sets overnight it becomes more flavorful. Stir well and season to taste.

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Reviews (4) Questions (0)

4 Reviews

YvesNY October 30, 2016
You don't want to cook oysters that long! Kills the taste. Make a creamy concoction with most of them, then add fresh schucked oysters when you serve.
Chef L. December 28, 2015
One of my favorites! We always put chopped celery vs celery salt. Adding a little bit of texture that the oyster appreciates. Yum!
Jason December 23, 2015
Don't your oysters get rubbery cooking that long?
Author Comment
Kristen M. December 23, 2015
They definitely would if you kept it at a boil, but my family puts it on the lowest possible simmer setting, so bubbles barely even break the surface.