Creamy Oyster And Potato Stew
- 1 pound small waxy red or white potatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 large or 3 medium shallots, sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine or dry sherry
- 2 cups cream
- 16 to 24 oysters, shucked, liquid reserved, those with broken shells discarded
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Put the potatoes in a pot, add a pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat so the water bubbles.
- Cook, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are just barely tender at the center; a paring knife will still meet some resistance when inserted.
- Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- Return the pot to medium heat and add the butter.
- When it foams, add the shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and stir until it almost all bubbles away, a minute or two.
- Add the cream, the reserved oyster liquid and potato cooking liquid, and the potatoes.
- Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 5 minutes, then lower the heat so it barely bubbles.
- Slip the oysters into the pot, cover, and turn off the heat.
- After 5 minutes, take a peek; the oysters should be turning opaque; if not, put the lid on for another minute or two.
- Stir in the tarragon, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve.