Herbsaint Oyster Stew

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Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
½  cup Herbsaint
3 cups whole milk
1 pint (about 2 dozen) shucked oysters in their liquor, drained, with 1 cup of liquor reserved
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
Pinch white pepper

In a saucepan, sauté the bacon in the butter over medium heat until crispy. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour, turn up the heat to medium-high, and stir until the roux is light brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the Herbsaint and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk and the reserved oyster liquor. Bring to a simmer until thickened, but do not allow to boil.

Add the oysters and tarragon; simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with tarragon and oyster crackers.

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