Oyster Stew with Leeks and Croutons

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,226
    Jeffrey Buben, chef and the owner of Vidalia Restaurant and Bistro Bis in Washington D.C., shows you how to make a delicious oyster stew with leeks and croutons.

    Jeffrey Buben: Hi! My name is Jeffrey Buben. I'm the chef and the owner of Vidalia Restaurant and Bistro Bis in Washington D.

    C. Today I'm going to show you how to make a simple and sumptuous oyster stew as part of the romantic Valentine's dinner.

    For it, you'll need two tablespoons of soft butter, one tablespoons of shallots, one tablespoon of minced garlic, two tablespoons of bacon or salt pork, two ounces of dry sherry, one pint of oysters shucked and drained, one cup of minced leeks washed, salt, and pepper, chives, Old Bay Seasoning, fresh lemon juice, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.

    One pint of oysters will serve two to four. Drain them in a colander, let them drain for about 5 or 10 minutes and that will give you your oyster liquor for you soup and give you plenty of garnish also.

    We're going to work with leeks and we want to make sure the sand is out of the leeks. Once we've washed them and separated them a little bit, you'll see that they're nice and clean. We're just going to take the leek and cut the leek onto a little bit of bias very, very fine. Part of the beauty of this soup is going to be the sweetness of the leek and that buttery flavor. So we're going cook them very, very slow in order for them to become very tender just like that you have fine minced leeks.

    What we like to do is use side meat which is peppered salt pork. We take that, mince it very, very fine so that it will combine with the shallots and the garlic and become part of the garnish of your soup. If you don't want to introduce a meat product into your oyster stew, you can leave this step out. But it has a great little smoky flavor and that natural saltiness along with the oysters, really gives it a nice kick.

    I'm going to take these over to the range. We're going to prepare medium heat and we're going to put our bacon in and let the bacon sizzle a little bit and render off a little fat before we add the other ingredients.

    When our bacon heats up, we get a little sizzle to it. We don't want to put in any color. We just want to get a little rendering to release some of the fat. We're going to add our butter. We don't want the butter to brown. We are going to slow our heat down. We're going to add our shallots, our garlic, and saut that for about 30 seconds to a minute just so we start to get some perfume and we start to get the flavor of the garlic and the shallots.

    We're going to add our leeks. We want to cook the leeks nice and slow, stir those around. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. The salt will help release a little bit of water from the leeks and that will prevent over browning of the leeks. We want them to be melted and tender, but we don't them to be crisp and brown.

    Once you've coated the leeks with the butter, you can turn your heat down very low, put a lid on that will create just a little bit of steam and let them cook nice and slow without browning.

    As you can see when we remove the lid after about four minutes, our leeks are nice and tender, and we've melted all those flavors together. The next step, we're going to add our sherry and that's the deglazing with the sherry. We're going to add our oyster juice. We're going to reserve the oysters just until the end before we only want to cook those for the last three minutes of the stew.

    Once we have deglazed, we're going to take and let this oyster liquor and the sherry reduce gently. So I will put a lid back on, simmer that for about three minutes, then we're going to add our cream. We can see that's coming nicely, nice and reduce, we're going to add our heavy cream.

    We're going to season our soup with the little fresh ground pepper, little salt, two dashes of Tabasco, three dashes of Worcestershire, we give that a stir, medium heat, cover that again and we will let that simmer about 7 or 8 minutes.

    After about 7 or 8 minutes of simmering, the soup is nice and beautiful like that. We're going to add our oysters, cook those for about 3 minutes just until the edges start to curl. We don't want to overcook the oysters and that's going to add our nice fresh and beautiful brownness to the soups. We're going to increase the heat for about 3 minutes without the lid so that we can keep an eye on it while it's hot and next I will show you how to make croutons.

    Basically, what we do is we take them and we're going to slice the brioche about a quarter inch thick, and we're going to allow for two hearts per person. Now you can use a cutter that you can purchase at any cookie store and just punch your heart just like that, and you have nice beautiful heart. So we're going to toast those in butter.

    If you don't have a heart-shaped cutter, very simple thing to do is take your break and just cut it on an angle like that, cut it on an angle like that to make the bottom of the heart, come around, and just circle off, circle off, circle off your crust and make a nice v-shape in there, and you have a nice heart like that. Both of them are equally as good and just as romantic for Valentine's day.

    We're going to heat the pan over a medium-high heat. We're going to place about two or three tablespoons of butter into the pan, and let that melt gently. We don't want the butter to burn or get too hot, because the croutons cook a little too fast. So we'll put 6 croutons in the pan.

    You'll see them start to getting brown a little bit around the edge just like that, flip them over when they're nice and golden. Now we're going to flip the last one and we have our beautiful hearts. We will just remove that to a paper towel and we're ready to move on, and we're going to top our oysters to with these luscious croutons.

    We're going to finish our oysters stew with just a little fresh lemon juice. Just take a little bit of lemon juice, let the lemon juice run between your fingers, and if you do have an extra seed, it will go between your hand, we get that little stir. We want to gently stir it so we don't breakup our oysters.

    We're going to take our ladle. We ladle our oyster stew like that into a bowl, a nice crouton heart right in the middle. We are going to take two extra croutons, because that's the best part. We take a little chive, sprinkle little chive on top and optional, if you want, if you like that Old Bay flavor, just take a little bit of Old Bay and there you have wonderful oysters stew with brioche hearts for Valentine's. That makes a great start for a romantic dinner. Enjoy.

    Next I'm going to show you how to do a saffron and honey glazed roast duck for two with wild rice and apricot pilaf, roasted asparagus. It's going to make our main course for a romantic Valentine's dinner.