(submitted by Ted Whisnant)
In the Pee Dee area of South Carolina, a catfish stew ranks highly with fine dining. The locals have great recipes, but innovations are welcome from any and all. This is my recipe for catfish stew using Jubilee® Seafood Seasoning.
Select 3 to 3 1/2pounds of catfish filets. Use Jubilee® seasoning to rub the filets and then wrap the fish snugly in plastic. Refrigerate overnight.
The following day, fry 4-6 pieces of bacon or fatback. Then sauté 1 to 1 1/2 cups of red, yellow, and green bell pepper with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped red onions in the bacon drippings. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
To the sautéed vegetables, add 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, one can of condensed tomato soup, and a one pound package of frozen okra. Season with Tabasco to taste. (You may wish to sauté some jalapeño peppers with the bell peppers; if so, omit the Tabasco). Depending on the liquid in the tomatoes, you may wish to add water. The desired consistency of the finished fish stew is similar to spaghetti sauce.
Add the uncooked fish to the soup (stew) and cook slowly for about one hour. If you wish to dress up the recipe, add uncooked shrimp, canned clams, or scallops. Here in SC we want the fish only.
Meanwhile, prepare a large pot of white rice. We prefer long grain rice, but use whatever you like. I once used Uncle Ben’s Tomato Basil with good results.
Serve the reduced stew ladled over rice with hushpuppies, garlic bread, or even regular sliced bread. Onion rings, french fries, or fried sweet potatoes also go well with fish stew. Some folks like cole slaw served on the side. We like it hot and spicy, but you can adjust this according to your taste. This is a great cold night dish, particularly for a group of men who’ve had a few cocktails.