We always had oyster stew on Christmas Eve, before we went to church. I think it was just easier, and then we had the big dinner the next day. So this is my tradition's contribution to the Feast of Several Fishes.
I don't know if my version is anything unique or special, but I like it because the vegetables stay just a little bit crispy, and it is rich and creamy. It is best to use small oysters for stew.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 pound fresh oysters with juice
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
In a large pot, melt butter, and saute onion and celery until they just start to soften. Add flour and stir to incorporate. Slowly add milk and stir to make sure there are no lumps. Simmer for 10 minutes, until soup thickens, then add oysters and simmer for 2-3 minutes just until oysters are cooked. Add tabasco, salt and pepper, and serve with crackers.