Chef Patrick's Coastal Virginia Dish: Oyster and Pumpkin Stew


Oysters and Country Ham are two of Virginia’s Culinary Calling Cards, and their unique flavor profiles pair beautifully with pumpkin in this rich and creamy stew.


2 slices Edwards of Surry country ham

24 Virginia raw oysters, seaside preferable

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small sweet onion, minced

3 tablespoon flour

2-1/2 cups chicken stock

2 cups half-and-half

2 cans fresh or canned pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons reserved oyster liquor or clam juice (if oysters pre-shucked)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt Pepper

Sour cream

Fresh thyme


Make the ham: Cut the Edward’s country ham into julienne strips. Place the ham in a sauté pan over medium heat and cook, stirring to prevent burning, until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Make the stew: Shuck the oysters, reserving liquor.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and add oil. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly so flour does not burn, until flour slightly browns, approximately 1 minute.

Add chicken stock, half-and-half, pumpkin puree and oyster liquor/clam juice. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate. Add oysters, nutmeg and cayenne, stirring frequently.

Allow mixture to come to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and, stirring frequently, simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream topped with a sprinkling of Frazzled Country Ham and fresh thyme sprigs as garnish.

Yields 4-6 servings.

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