If you are a fan of oysters, you will appreciate this recipe. In fact, even if you are not an oyster lover, you will eat this. It is originally from my grandmother's old cookbook and was primarily used as a "stuffing suitable for a small goose or turkey." I have adapted it for a more appropriate side dish or casserole. It is rich, redolent with herbs, and delicious. It is especially the perfect complement to any kind of red meat, such as prime rib or simply a steak. And, of course, turkey.
The original recipe calls for three cups of cooked white rice. Instead, to save on time and cleanup, I used Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, two packets of "Original" white rice and one packet of "Long Grain and Wild" rice. I did not bother to microwave them since they bake in the oven. To save on money, one could make one's own white rice and then buy a package of the long grain and wild rice. Either way, I do recommend the earthiness of the long grain and wild rice with the oysters. Some recipes call for all wild rice; I don't recommend it since it is overpowering and, texturally, lacks the smoothness of plain white rice.
How you incorporate the oysters is up to you. If they are large, you may want to cut them in half. If small, leave whole. Or, as I did here, simply snip into pieces so they melt into the rice mixture giving it that briny, unique oyster taste from the sea.
Be sure to mince your parsley as fine as possible. Use salt sparingly. I like a bit of a bite from extra ground pepper and the red pepper flakes. I also add a few tablespoons of Parmesan/Romano cheese, but that is up to you. Of late, I have, more and more, begun to use fresh chopped fennel with anything containing oysters. The taste is not overpowering. It is great in chicken soup!
I often debate: should I add some bacon? Should I add some chopped kale? Green pepper? I think they would all work. Let me know if you do.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup, 8 oz, your favorite pork sausage
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery (I like a bit more)
- 3 or more tablespoons finely minced parsley
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb (optional)
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed
- One or two pinches red chili flakes
- 3 cups cooked white rice (see explanation above)
- 1 pint (two cups) fresh oysters, drained and blotted dry (save the juice/liquor)
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon or more freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I use Bells)
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh Parmesan-Romano cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly grease an 11 x 7 casserole dish or similar.
In a large skillet or pot, melt the butter. Add the sausage, onions, celery red pepper flakes and, if using, chopped fennel bulb. Cook until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are soft. Add the parsley and garlic. Stir for about one minute. Add the rice and cook for several minutes over low/medium heat to incorporate all the flavors. Add the oysters. Continue to cook for a just a few minutes. If mixture appears dry, add a bit of the oyster liquor. Salt and pepper to taste. Add poultry seasoning. Mix. If using, incorporate the cheese.
Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
This is an easy dish to prepare ahead of time. Cool. Cover. Refrigerate. When time to serve, re-heat in the oven or the microwave.
Suggestion: Serve with any roast beef, rare; a cold, crisp salad slathered with blue-cheese dressing; a robust, red, dry wine. If serving with poultry, a cold dry white or Zinfandel is a perfect pairing.