This is a thick, rich stew that will warm you up anytime over the holiday season.
Oyster Stew with Rosemary Croutons
2 bacon slices, diced
Cook first 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium heat 12 minutes or until onion and celery are tender. Add vermouth, and simmer 1 minute. Add oysters.
Whisk together flour and clam juice in a small bowl, whisk into soup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 1 minute or until oyster edges curl. Reduce heat to medium-low; add half-and-half and next 4 ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated. (do not boil) Serve with Rosemary Croutons.
1/3 cup butter
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet; add garlic and next 3 ingredients. Saute' i minute over medium heat. Add bread cubes, tossing gently to coat.
Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted.
COOK'S NOTE: I used the fabulous <a href="http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/search/label/No%20knead%20bread%20recipe">No Knead Rosemary Bread </a>from <em>October Farm </em>in place of French Bread. Once you make this bread you will find endless ways to use it. This is the easiest and best bread you will ever make.