The French would say made with a fume, fish or oyster fume.  A fume is the product of, in this case oysters, which is steeped and the essence of the flavor is withdrawn to create what is called a fume or fish fume. The fume is used as a broth, however in the case of seafood, which is so delicate and why it gets the name fume.  A fume is a  subtle flavor where the main item is enhanced.  

The wine of the sea, you might say, is a description of these savory delicious treats.  Like many foods the flavor is a direct result of the foods they eat.  As the saying goes” you are what you eat”, so goes with these sea creatures.  These tasty creatures, if they are raised close or near to the open ocean, they will have a higher salinity than those raised in bays.  Flavors and options are amazingly flexible.  

Check out this website to learn more about oysters:

The beauty of many prepared dishes is that when you have good ingredients that you let them do the flavoring.  Oysters are subtle yet rich in flavor,  this dish enhanced by bacon allows the unique characteristics stand out.

Three bowls of delicious homemade oyster stew on a table with crackers on the side.

Oyster Stew - A Holiday Tradition

You know how good or well received a dish is by its use.  Oyster stew is a dish that is quietly a popular one.  You can tell because you speak and here of oyster stew for Christmas eve and Oyster stew for New Years Eve, and Oyster stew for Thanksgiving as well.  Wow three major holidays that enjoy this subtle tasty treat.

Christmas is always a special time of year, people want to put their best foot forward.  The best dinners, the best desserts, and yes, the best stews.  This stew also is  fish and for the feast of 7 fishes would be a great menu item.

New years eve is an evening preceding a day of new beginnings.  Another evening of luxury and celebration.  Oyster Stew on New Years eve is a winner because of what it is.  Rich Oysters, combined with creamy broth and a hint of bacon.  A stew to compliment many a selection of meals.

Oyster stew for Thanksgiving is actually one of the traditional offerings the Pilgrims would have enjoyed.  The Pilgrims in Plymouth were in prime Oyster country, they would have been able to harves them and likely did for the first celebrations of Thanksgiving.

Using Canned Oysters vs Fresh Shucked Oysters

Oyster stew is such a great dish, you will want to make this dish when you have a chance.  The question that always seems to arise is: using canned oysters vs fresh shucked?  Honestly this is a simple answer, what is available to you.  Living in the central US Oysters are available.  They are available canned and fresh.

 Fresh oysters often come with a price tag, depending on where you are that may be very high.  In central US it may be expensive to get fresh oysters, however canned are available.  Well if you want to make oyster stew and the price tag you can afford allows for canned then use canned. 

However, if you can afford the fresh, go with fresh every time.  Just like with fresh vs frozen vegetables, or fresh vs dried pasta, or any of these vs canned.  Fresh is best, it is a comparison that really isn’t.  Anytime you have a fresh food it is better in quality, nutritionally and flavor-fully.

Remember that always, the closest to the harvest, contains the most nutrients, quality and freshness.  Canned, frozen or cured aren’t bad options if fresh isn’t a viable option.  When a crop is harvested, the second it is picked it begins losing its value. 

Value is defined by its nutritional content, which equates to the loss of the properties that provide the ideal profile for the produce or meat.  This profile includes the enzymes and proteins that it possess which are at or in optimum condition immediately after harvest.

This means that the best flavors come when a product reaches its ideal state of readiness, or ripeness/maturity.  At the peak stage or ripeness/maturity it is harvested and or slaughtered.  The item is packaged and shipped to market in reasonable time.

What Makes A Good Oyster Stew Recipe?

So what is it that makes a good oyster stew recipe.  Well it might be the crab and lobster followed by the beluga caviar.  Kidding of course, what makes a good oyster stew recipe is indeed the ingredients.  While crab, lobster and beluga caviar may be good ingredients, they would not be the preferred for Oyster stew.

A good recipe for oyster stew would be one that allows the main ingredient, here the Oysters, to talk.  You want the main ingredient to be heard.   You don’t want them to scream in a way that is annoying or too bold.  However, you want them to be subtle and speak a language that is heard and understood by the audience.

You want them to play the role they are meant to play. The oyster a rich, delicate yet distinct seafood is meant to play a main role, supported by the bacon and creamy broth.  Ah yes, a recipe that confidently states flavor, character and tells the tale of seafood that is clean, crisp and satisfying.  Yes this is what makes a good oyster stew recipe.

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Oyster Stew

The richness of oysters the freshness of the sea, this dish is complex with simply delicious flavor
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
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Servings: 6
Calories: 325kcal


  • 4 Bacon, Thick Cut Slices Cooked, diced or chopped
  • 1 Onion small, finely diced
  • 2 cup Clam Juice
  • 1 cup Potato Peeled, Cubed 1/2 in.
  • 1 Pint Oysters Fresh shucked or canned. Drain, Reserve Juice
  • 1/2 Pint Heavy Cream You could substitute 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 Cup Oyster Crackers


  • In a stock pot add clam juice, reserved oyster juice, simmer
  • Add Peeled, cut potatoes and cook in Juices for about 10 minutes until tender, turn off the burner
  • Cook the Bacon to slightly crisp, chop up the bacon, remove excess grease from the pan.  Be cautious this fat can melt plastic and burn your skin.
  • Saute finely diced onion in residual bacon fat, (only what remains after draining the fat off)
  • Add Cream to stock, with potatoes, return to simmer
  • Add onion, bacon, shucked oysters to the simmering stock.  Cook only until oysters are cooked, about 5 minutes


The richness of oysters the freshness of the sea, this dish is complex with simply delicious flavor.
Nutrition Facts
Oyster Stew
Amount Per Serving
Calories 325 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 461mg20%
Potassium 321mg9%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 670IU13%
Vitamin C 8.3mg10%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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