Oyster and Sweetcorn Stew

A nourishing and colourful dish, Oyster and Sweetcorn Stew is an ideal dish for a lunch party. Serve with a green salad and some well-chilled Chablis wine.

2 oz. butter

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced celery stalks, trimmed and diced medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped

16 oz. canned sweetcorn, drained and can juice reserved

6 fl. oz. beef stock

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper bouquet garni, consisting of 4 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme spray and 1 bay leaf tied together 6 fresh oysters, shelled and with the oyster liquid reserved

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the potatoes and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly and evenly browned.

Stir in the tomatoes and sweetcorn and cook for a further 2 minutes. Pour over the reserved swcctcorn can liquid and the stock and add the sugar, salt, pepper and bouquet garni. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring frequently. Cover the casserole, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Increase the heat to moderate and stir in the oysters and their liquid. Cook for a further 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters are beginning to curl.

Remove the casserole from the heat. Transfer the stew to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

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