In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except milk. Heat over medium-low heat just until edges of oysters curl (about 10 minutes).
In another saucepan, scald the milk (or heavy cream, or half and half). Stir the milk into the other ingredients.
How to Scald Milk - Place the milk, heavy cream, or half and half in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until you see bubbles begin to form around the edges of the milk and it starts to steam. Technically, milk is scalded when it reaches 170 degrees if you want to be precise and use a thermometer but that's not necessary.
Do not use low-fat or reduced fat milk for this recipe.
Be sure to include the liquid the oysters are packed in (also known as oyster liquor). Or, if you're shucking your own fresh oysters, be sure to catch the liquid that's inside the shells as you open the oysters.
FAQsWhy did my oyster stew curdle? The most likely causes are either heating the milk too quickly or adding cold milk into warm ingredients. Be sure to warm the milk slowly following the tip above for scalding milk before adding it to the stew.How do I serve oyster stew? Oyster stew is best served while still piping hot from stove to table. I always serve it in a shallow bowl with the traditional accompaniment of crackers, either oyster crackers or saltine crackers. It really doesn't need anything else.How do I store this? In my opinion, this is one of those dishes that is best served and enjoyed immediately. If you find that you do need to store it, you can keep it refrigerated for up to three days. To reheat it I'd either use a double boiler stirring almost constantly to prevent sticking, or microwave on 50% power stirring every 30 seconds or so until warm. Freezing is not recommended.