Oyster Stew – Christmas Eve

Apparently there was some sort of tradition in some of the Cranston clan families for having oyster stew on Christmas eve. Certainly I remember having it with Helen and Wood, and it looks like the same tradition was prevalent with the Painters and Melbys.

So . . . . Here’s the recipe that I found tucked away in some of the Cranston files*. This is the recipe we used this year (photo below).


1/2 cup salted butter

1 cup minced celery

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 quart half-and-half cream

24 oz of fresh shucked oysters (undrained)

salt and pepper to taste

1 pinch (or a little more) of cayenne pepper


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the celery and shallots until the shallots are tender;

Pour half-and-half into a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in the butter, celery, and shallot mixture. Stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling,, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste plus the cayenne pepper to add a little “kick.” Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. When the oysters curl, the stew is finished cooking. Turn off the heat and serve.

3 thoughts on “Oyster Stew – Christmas Eve

  1. Janice Melby Opsahl

    This looks like the stew my parents had. They had it just about every Sunday night and the kids had tomato soup. I couldn’t imagine why they would eat such yucky looking stuff. They never tried to convince us to try it. They loved it and we thought we were so lucky that they didn’t force it on us.

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