Pine Bark Stew With Jimmy Kennedy

By Jimmy Kennedy, & Justin Brouillard
Cook Ambassadors

It’s origins may be truly unknown, but that doesn’t make Pine Bark Stew any less delicious. Try it out Jimmy Kennedy’s way with fresh catch of the day.

Pine Bark Stew

This is one of the all-time classic Southern dishes and could very well be the official state dish of South Carolina. When I cook this over an open fire, I sometimes add a small amount of green pine boughs to the fire to get the authentic aroma.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 big servings

1/2 pound thick-cut smoked bacon, chopped

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)

2 quarts fish stock or broth made with fish bouillon

3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 to 3 cups)

3 or 4 fresh, ripe tomatoes or one 28-ounce can chopped or crushed tomatoes, with juice

6-ounce can tomato paste

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

2 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons of juniper berries, crushed

  1. Line a plate with paper towels.
  2. In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the lined plate. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
  3. Sauté the onions in the bacon grease until they begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. In a large soup pot, heat the fish stock or broth. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until almost done, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes (and juice), tomato paste, vinegar, cinnamon, sugar, juniper berries and cooked bacon and onions. Stir well and cook, uncovered, at a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add the catfish. With the pot mostly covered, cook until it is done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve in a big soup bowl with your favorite bread and enjoy!

(Justin Broulliard)

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