Creamy Oyster and Watercress Stew

Course Main Dish, Soups & Salads
Cuisine New England, Seafood
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 leeks white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
  • kosher salt freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 dozen oysters freshly shucked, liquor reserved
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Pinch of saffron threads optional
  • 1 large bunch watercress tough ends trimmed, chopped (about 3 cups), plus finely chopped for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream plus more for serving
  • crusty bread for serving


  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook leeks, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.
  • Add wine and reserved oyster liquor to pot and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add broth and saffron; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add watercress and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then, working in batches, purée in a blender until smooth. Pour soup into a large saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Add oysters and red pepper flakes and cook until oysters are just cooked through, about 2 minutes; stir in 1/2 cup cream.
  • Serve soup drizzled with more cream and topped with finely chopped watercress.
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