Chef Patrick's Coastal Virginia Dish: Oyster and Pumpkin Stew
VIRGINIA OYSTER AND PUMPKIN STEW WITH FRAZZLED COUNTRY HAM GARNISH
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
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.