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

6 eggs

Good crusty bread for sopping


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Divide potatoes, onions, peppers, fish, bacon/sausage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt into three batches.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.