Pine Bark Stew

Course : Seafoods
Serves: 1
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1/4 pound bacon -- (4 to 6 slices)
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup canned chicken broth
1 pound boiling potatoes -- peeled and sliced
1 1/2 pounds tilefish fillets -- cut 2 inch square pieces (or other firm-fleshed white fish)
1/4 cup chopped parsley -- for garnish

Preparation / Directions:

In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Reserving the fat in the pan, drain the bacon on paper towels; crumble and set aside. Add the onion to the bacon fat and sauté over medium heat until the onion is softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes fall apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the fish and simmer, gently stirring, until the fish is opaque, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot, garnished with the bacon and parsley. Comments: Explanations for the curious name of this fish stew from South Carolina are colorful, if not particularly believable. One theory suggests that the stew was always made with freshly caught fish and cooked right at river's edge in a cauldron set over a pine bark fire. The fish traditionally used -- catfish, bass, and sheepshead, for example -- are native to South Carolina's Pee Dee River, but any firm-fleshed white fish will do. Be sure not to leave out the ketchup; it adds a spicy flavor and is an essential part of the dis

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