Key Ingredient

Catfish Stew over Rice

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Peter Taylor Photography

Food Culture of the South

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Serves 6 to 8

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds firm catfish filets
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 2 onions
  • chopped
  • 2 celery stalks
  • chopped
  • 1 quart clam broth
  • 8 tomatoes
  • charred and chopped*
  • 1 pound field peas
  • cooked (Collier uses pink eye and cream peas)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 1 pound fresh crabmeat (or 2 cans),1 pint shucked oysters
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo filé powder
  • Cooked white rice for serving
  • *To char tomatoes, cut each in half and sprinkle cut side with salt. Broil in oven until charred. Let cool before roughly chopping.
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, make a roux by melting butter and adding flour; cook, stirring often, until it’s the color of chocolate.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season one side of catfish pieces with cajun seasoning. Place catfish seasoned-side down into oil. Cook until browned, then set aside on a platter or baking sheet.
  3. Lower heat to medium and add onion and celery to dutch oven, cooking until onions are translucent. Add roux, clam broth, charred tomatoes, field peas, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
  4. Ten minutes before serving, add catfish, crabmeat, oysters, and filé powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer (without bringing to a boil) until crabmeat and oysters are opaque and cooked through. Serve over rice.
  • From Greg Collier, Leah & Louise, Charlotte, North Carolina

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