This is a perfect kayaking trip or camping trip soup, for several reasons: first, it requires just one pot/stove burner; second, it requires few ingredients; third, refrigeration needs are minimal; and fourth, it's so good that you won't have leftovers to mess with!
You can either purchase oysters and shuck them at your site (if you're kayaking somewhere where it would be a crime to NOT buy local oysters, like Tomales Bay or some other oyster-growing region), or, if shucking oysters is not your thing (some day I'll share my oyster-shucking-near-death-experience), you may purchase them from a fish monger in a jar. Considering the work it takes to shuck oysters, and since you're going to eat them poached rather than raw this time around, it actually makes sense to buy them already shucked.
This entire soup may be made at your campsite, although chopping the onions, fennel, and peppers at home makes life easier. The corn should stay frozen, as it will help keep your oysters cold, too. However, if you'd prefer, go ahead and make the entire soup at home -- it reheats very well.
This is a perfect soup for folks who don't think they like oysters. If you really have die-hard oyster-haters, substitute shrimp. Either way, this soup is a hearty winner.
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced, with fronds saved
2 small hot chili peppers, chopped (we use ancho and poblano peppers, only because that's what grows in our yard year-round...choose whatever medium-heat pepper you prefer)
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups light stock, like vegetable, turkey, or chicken (fish stock is perfect, but sometimes it's hard to find shelf-stable fish stock to take camping)
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup uncooked quinoa
salt and pepper
1 T lime juice
2 cups shucked oysters (about 10; cut large oysters in half, super large oysters into quarters or sixths)1 handful chopped cilantro
reserved fennel fronds
- Heat oil in stock pot until shimmering. Add onions and fennel, and cook, stirring constantly, about 7 minutes.
- Add chopped peppers and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add stock, corn, quinoia, salt, pepper, and lime juice; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through.
- Add oysters. Throw half the cilantro into the pot, and simmer another 5 minutes.
- Season again with salt and pepper; serve with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.