What To Consider When Using Canned Oysters In Stew

Oyster stew with oyster crackers
Oyster stew with oyster crackers - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

There's nothing quite like the creamy richness of oyster stew. Luscious with bites of tasty seafood, oyster stew is often eaten on Christmas Eve, but it's hard to not want it all year-round. The recipe is typically made with fresh seafood, but if you're struggling to figure out how to shuck an oyster, we don't blame you for opting for canned instead. Here's what you need to know about making the swap.

While canned oysters are a good substitute, they're a little different than the traditional ones, so your stew will need a few tweaks. Canned oysters are packed in water, which can easily dilute the creaminess of the stew. To prevent this, drain them well and add a bit of flour when melting butter in the pot to create a thick base for starters.

Once you add in your onions, celery, and cream, hold the salt — canned oysters will have more sodium than fresh ones, so taste the stew before adding any more. Canned oysters also come pre-cooked, so make sure to toss them in during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent them from getting rubbery. You won't get that briny oyster flavor with only five minutes of simmering in the stew, so reserve the water from the can to add when you pour in the milk or cream.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

What Type Of Canned Oysters Should You Use In The Stew?

Oyster stew with crackers
Oyster stew with crackers - Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Making a delicious batch of stew is a great way to use canned oysters, but not all of them are made alike. There are two types of canned oysters — smoked and natural — and they each bring their own special flair to a stew. Natural canned oysters are most in line with what fresh oysters taste like, as they're packed in water and boast a similar briny flavor.

Smoked oysters, as the name implies, are on the smokier side. Packed in oil, their flavor is more intense, with undertones of meatiness to them. Using natural canned oysters for the stew makes good sense, but if you'd prefer to give the dish an elevated umami-richness, smoked canned oysters are the best choice. Not only will the smokiness give the stew an extra layer of flavor, but the oil it's packed in provides a more full-bodied texture for an interesting spin on the dish. Smoked oyster stew is a headier, loaded version of oyster stew, containing extra ingredients like sliced bacon and potatoes.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.