January-February 2016 | Food & Drink

How to Make Maryland Oyster Chowder

A tasty option when it's not crab season

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All Photos by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Difficulty Level: 2 stars

On the Clock: 1 hour

Servings: 6



2 tablespoons butter

1 cup diced yellow onions

1 cup diced celery

½ cup diced carrots

1 cup dry white wine

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 sprig Italian parsley

1 cup fish stock (or oyster juice)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2 cups diced potatoes, preferably Yukon gold or red bliss (to prevent oxidization, diced potatoes can be held submerged in cold water until ready to use)

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 pint shucked oysters, including any liquid they are packed in

Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup chopped Italian parsley



1. Heat a one-gallon soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pot, and add the onions, celery and carrots with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. If the vegetables start to brown on the bottom of the pot, add a few drops of water to loosen them. 

2. Add the wine and garlic. Tie the thyme, bay leaf and parsley together with twine and add to the pot. Continue cooking over medium heat until the liquid has almost evaporated.

3. Add the fish stock, cream, milk, potatoes and Old Bay. More fish stock or milk can be added as needed. Raise the heat to high to bring to just below boiling, then reduce to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

4. Pour in the oysters and turn the heat to high to reach just below boiling, then lower heat and simmer for three minutes, until the edges of the oysters start to ruffle. Adjust seasoning and acidity with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

5. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.


Find It Local

Shucked Chesapeake Bay oysters, which should be used within hours of purchasing, are available at Seafood in the Buff in Silver Spring and Cameron’s Seafood in Rockville and Silver Spring.