(serves 4 )
This is a form of oyster chowder, based on the more common baked oysters florentine dish. It has a placid but refreshing flavour and I find that it is a good match with a main course of red meat. If you live inland and find it difficult to get your hands on fresh oysters, but still would like to have oysters on your dining table, this soup is one of your options.
- Shucked Oysters (16 oz tub)
- Chicken (1 leg)
- Spinach (60g)
- Onion (1)
- Flour (3T)
- Milk (1.5 cups)
- Butter (60g)
- Coriander seed powder
- Mint leaves (chopped)
- Chicken stock cube
- Start by putting a chicken leg (including thigh) and a peeled onion into 2 cups of boiling water to make some stock. Flavour this stock with one chicken cube. Simmer for 2 hours and leave overnight if possible. Spoon out and discard all the solids when your stock is ready.
- There should be about 8 large oysters per tub (which would be labelled medium oysters). Put aside the 4 best looking oysters. Puree the remainder in the brine the oysters were soaked in and also put these aside (seperately) for later use.
- Cut your spinach into narrow slices and then rotate 90 degrees and slice a second time to get small pieces. Then hold your knife with one hand on top of the blade and the other on the handle to complete the chopping by cutting down repeatedly from different directions.
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter and then fry on low heat 3T of flour in it until the flour begins to darken, it should take about 3 minutes. Stirring the entire time, add 1.5 cups of milk. To avoid lumping, you should pour in only ¼ cup of milk at a time and hold off on adding the next batch of milk until the roux or sauce has absorbed all the liquid. You should have a nice thick sauce when you are done.
- Next, turn up the heat and stir in some of the chicken stock, again slowly. When the contents of the saucepan have become fluid, pour it back into the stock pot and reboil for five minutes after adding the pureed oysters, 1T chopped mint leaves, 1t coriander seed powder. Your soup base is ready.
- Reboil the soup base 15 minutes before your serve the soup. Put in the spinach 10 minutes before serving and the whole oysters 5 minutes before serving. After turning off the heat, season your soup with 1T cognac, a sprinkle of black pepper and finally salt to taste. Remember there was brine that came with the oysters and the stock cube, so taste before deciding how much salt you want to add.
- In many other soups I usually dispense with the meat and just use a stock cube but in this case a full bodied stock is needed to carry the soup since the flavour of oysters is quite mild.
- I usually cut away the round fibrous eye where the oyster attaches to the shell. It’s up to you if you want to do this.
- If you think this soup sounds a lot like the Bongo Bong soup that is the hallmark soup of Trader Vic restaurants, Bingo! You need just blend the chopped spinach with your oysters instead of adding them near the end and its almost the same thing. There is a Bongo Bongo recipe floating around the internet which is supposedly from Trader Vics. It uses corn starch as a thickener? Well I haven’t tried it but I am a bit skeptical if its the real mcCoy.