Oyster Stew

3 tblspn. butter or margarine
3 large shallots or 1 small onion finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
1 bay leaf
Finely shredded peel of 1 large lemon
1-1/2 qts. half and half (6 cups)
¾ tspn. Salt
½ tspn. paprika
1/8 tspn. red (cayenne) pepper
24 to 36 shucked oysters with liquor
2 tblspn. butter or margarine

Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a large kettle. Add shallots or onion and celery. Over medium heat, sauté until soft. Add bay leaf and lemon peel; sauté 1 min longer. Add half and half, slat, paprika, red pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Head until very hot; do not boil. If oysters are large, cut in half. Add oysters and liquor to kettle. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until edges of oysters start to curl and become firm. Do not overcook. Taste and adjust seasonings. Divide oysters among 6 serving bowls. Ladle in broth. Cut 2 tablespoons butter or margarine into 6 parts float 1 pat in each bowl. Garnish with paprika. Makes 6 servings.