Traditional River Realm Recipes to Warm the Soul

It’s no secret, we are foodies down here in Virginia’s River Realm. We are proud to boast a long list of incredible chefs, creative restaurants, and oyster farmers who serve up dishes featuring fresh, local seafood and inspired by foodie traditions from all over the world. We have a few favorites that are simple enough to take home. Get to know the people behind the recipes and start preheating your oven…

She Crab Soup

Chef TV Flynn of the Tides Inn lived in New Orleans, so expect a bit of a kick to some of his traditional recipes. He always finds a way to use as many local and fresh ingredients as possible, even with savory dishes like She Crab Soup.  Here’s his rich recipe with a touch of heat.


1 ea diced onion
4 stalks diced celery
2 ea minced carrots
1 oz. bacon grease
1/2 cup Harvey’s cream sherry
2 pint heavy cream
1 pint milk
1 pint water
2-3 oz. crab base
1/2 tsp mace
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
4 oz. roux (as needed)

For Sachet:
2 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp white peppercorns
2 ea bay leaves
1 oz. lump crab per cup


In a large kettle, sauté the onion, carrots and celery in bacon grease. Deglaze with 1/2 of the sherry. Add milk, cream, water, crab base, seasonings and sachet. Simmer and thicken with roux. Continue cooking 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove sachet. Quickly cool by storing in shallow lexan containers. (Portion size 6 oz – Yield 1 quart)

Oyster Stew

Bryan Byrd of Byrd’s Seafood Company  grew up in Virginia’s River Realm. He has been working in the restaurant industry for 15 years. Five were spent in Key West. “Now, I give people a taste of what I grew up, but with a Caribbean spin,” he says. Here’s his savory oyster stew recipe. Learn where to get your oysters here.


2 cups sweet vidalia onions, chopped
½ pound freshly sliced Red Eye country ham, chopped
Olive oil
2 sticks butter
1 quart fresh wild caught Rappahannock River oysters, shucked
½ gallon half and half
2 cups freshly cooked collard greens (or 1 16-ounce can pre-cooked)
Sea salt
Cracked pepper


Sauté the onions and ham in olive oil until the onions are translucent, then set aside. Melt butter slowly in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Add the oysters and cook until the edges start to curl. As the oysters are cooking, slowly add the half and half, stirring lightly. Add the collard greens, ham and onions. Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Easy Baked Oyster Casserole

W. Ellery Kellum started Kellum Seafood in 1948. Today, Tommy Kellum and his brothers produce nearly 600,000 bushels of oysters a year. He and his family have passed down oyster recipes from generation to generation. This oyster casserole is easy enough for anyone to make, you can even invite the kids to help! Discover more Kellum Seafood recipes here.


2 qt. Kellum Oysters, well drained
½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup onions
Salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup melted butter
2 cups medium coarse cracker crumbs
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup oyster juice


Grease pan with butter. Layer mixed crumbs on bottom. Layer of oysters. Sprinkle parsley, onions and seasonings. Pour cream and oyster juice over top. Cook. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.


Share Your Recipes!

Did you tackle one of these recipes? We’d love to see your photos, whether it was a failure or not. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook using @virginiasriverrealm. We would love to see how you brought the River Realm to your home.

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