Eastern Carolina Fish Stew
I caught the end of this on Cooks Country the other day and sounded and looked pretty good to me. I did some research (No Cooks Country will give you recipes free if you take a trial). I found that there were several variations on this general theme. I picked the one that seemed to be close to what I wanted and then changed it to suit. Homey do not do no funky white bread neither!
6 slices of smoked bacon, sliced in 1-inch strips (some even add a pound of smoked sausage too .. up to you).
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1.5 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch slices; divided into thirds
1 Pablano pepper diced rough
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds fish filets around 1×3 inch thick slices of white fish (Haddock, Cod, Grouper, Bass, and Snapper)
1 Tbs kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
Good crusty bread for sopping
- Brown bacon in the bottom of an 8- to a 10-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Once it’s crisp, remove it and reserve.
- Whisk the tomato paste and wine into the bacon fat, making sure you scrape up all the debris left from browning the bacon. Then add the bay leaf.
- Divide potatoes, onions, peppers, fish, bacon/sausage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt into three batches.
- With the heat off, begin layering. Start with a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of bacon/sausage, onions & Pablano, and garlic. topped by a layer of fish. Top each layer with salt and chili flakes. Repeat twice.
- Fill the pot with enough water to just barely reach the top of the fish. If there’s a little fish peeking out over the top, that’s okay—better than if it’s swimming in water. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring it up to a boil slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook at a high simmer for about 15 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness. They should be barely tender, not falling apart.
- Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Then, with the stew at a good simmer, add the eggs one by one in a single layer over the top of the stew poaching the eggs in the broth. Once the eggs are cooked through (whites firm, yolks still yolky), use a large ladle to portion the stew with the egg on top.