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Tomatoey Catfish Stew recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Stew and casserole
  • Fish stew

This stew is simple and well-flavoured. It's made by simmering bacon, potatoes and catfish in a delicious tomato sauce. Serve with crusty bread.

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 5 rashers streaky bacon
  • 240g chopped onion
  • 2 (400g) tins tomatoes
  • 225g passata
  • 465g diced potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 dashes hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 900g catfish, cut into bite-sized pieces

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:55min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Place the bacon in a large pot with a lid; cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Reserving the drippings in the pot, remove the bacon to a plate lined with kitchen towels to drain. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
  2. Put the onions in the pot; cover and allow to cook about 5 minutes. Stir the tomatoes, passata, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce into the onions. Season with salt and pepper; allow to simmer 30 minutes. Stir the crumbled bacon and catfish into the mixture; continue cooking until the fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes more.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(9)

Reviews in English (7)

by Anne

The acidity of the tomatoes prevented the potatoes from becoming tender in only 30 minutes. I cooked the mixture over an hour and a half, checking the potatoes every 15 minutes after the initial 30 minutes to ensure they were softened. I tasted for seasoning and added two teaspoons of Emeril's Cajun spice mixture (recipe for spice mixture at and tripled the hot sauce before adding the catfish. I have never eaten fish in a stew or soup, but since I'm trying to incorporate more fish into my diet, I wanted to give this recipe a try. The texture of the fish was strange to me, at first. I have to say it smelled wonderful while cooking. I almost used olive oil and left the bacon out to save calories and make it healthier. I decided to go ahead and stay as close as possible to the recipe as written. I love bacon in anything, but I was surprised the scrumptious undertone the bacon gave to this recipe. I'm sure that accounts for the hike in calories. Oh well, I'll try olive oil next time. I think chicken or pork could be substituted for catfish in this recipe with very good results.-17 Nov 2009

by Trey

This recipe is excellent as-is. I made a double batch as the recipe stated it was for 4 servings, but that is the only thing wrong with it. As written, this recipe will feed 12.. easily. I made cornbread to go with it. My family gobbled it up.-10 Dec 2009

by nadine501

Very Good! Hot and spicy. We pre-cooked the catfish in lemon and pepper, and then simmered for about an hour on the stove until potatoes where done. We ate the whole thing up.-09 Jun 2009

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen okra
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In a 3 quart pot, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in the boiling water.

In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil, and cook the celery, green pepper, onion and garlic until tender.

Add the tomatoes, okra and cooked vegetables to the boiling water. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, thyme, bay leaf and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add catfish, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until catfish is flaky and tender.


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Change the Recipe

If you or your family really do not enjoy the flavor of tomatoes, consider changing the recipe. In a gumbo or stew, reduce the amount of tomatoes. If you are using tomatoes for a sauce, experiment with other ingredients that will allow you to cut down on the number of tomatoes, such as red wine or beef stock. Pureeing the tomato sauce may also help to integrate the ingredients more, which may help neutralize any strong tomato flavor. Alternatively, use a prepared sauce. Ready-made sauces usually have a softer tomato flavor.

Southern Salmon Stew

p.p1 Taste a classic southern family friendly dish in a whole new way! Our Southern Salmon Stew uses Wild Pink Salmon, red potatoes, diced only, heavy cream and rice. To reduce the fat content, substitute whole milk or 2% milk for the heavy cream. The stew won't be quite as thick, but it will still be yummy!


  • 1, 14.75 oz. can StarKist® Wild Pink Salmon, drained and chunked
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup large diced yellow onion
  • 4 “B sized” red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat oil in medium size stock pot. Add onions and sauté until just softened.
  • Add potatoes, cream, pepper, thyme and cook over low heat until potatoes are soft (they should be tender when pierced with a fork).
  • Stir in chunked salmon and heat until salmon is warm. Add salt to taste.
  • Meanwhile, cook white rice and reserve to the side.
  • To serve, spoon ½ cup of rice in a bowl. Top with the stew.

Recipe Nutrition Information

1, 14.75 oz. can StarKist Wild Pink Salmon, drained

Servings Per Container: 8
1, 14.75 oz. can StarKist Wild Pink Salmon, drained Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per ServingDV%*
Total Fat2742% 27
Saturated Fat1470% 14
Trans Fat0.5g 0.5g
Cholesterol11538% 115
Sodium220mg9% 220mg
Total Carbohydrate32g11% 32g
Dietary Fiber2g8%
Total Sugars2g 2g
Vitamin A 20%
Vitamin C 20%
Calcium 15%
Iron 8%

*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Cook’s Country Monterey Bay Cioppino (Ep 1301)

To create a home recipe inspired by the cioppino served up at Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery in Moss Landing, California, we started by making a tomatoey marinara base that relied on pantry staples and came together quickly. Instead of breaking out the food processor to make a traditional pesto to flavor our stew as Phil does, we simply added the pesto’s key ingredients (olive oil, basil, and garlic) to the mix. Phil’s version is brimming with a wide range of seafood, but we wanted to tighten the roster for our version, so we bypassed clams and calamari, opting instead for easy-to-find shrimp, scallops, sea bass, and mussels. Adding our seafood to the pot in stages and finishing the cooking off the heat ensured that each component was perfectly cooked.

We recommend buying “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet” scallops. Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish wet scallops are bright white. If you can’t find fresh dry scallops, you can substitute thawed frozen scallops. If you can’t find sea bass, you can substitute cod, haddock, or halibut fillets.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ pounds skinless sea bass fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 12 ounces large scallops, tendons removed, cut in half horizontally
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 1 (12-inch) baguette, sliced and toasted
  • Lemon wedges


1. FOR THE MARINARA: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, and salt and cook until onion is softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato puree, basil, sugar, Worcestershire, and cinnamon and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until marinara is slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

2. FOR THE CIOPPINO: Season sea bass, shrimp, and scallops with salt and pepper set aside. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mussels, basil, sherry, garlic, Worcestershire, saffron, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until mussels start to open, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in clam juice and marinara until combined. Nestle sea bass and scallops into pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until seafood is just turning opaque, about 2 minutes. Nestle shrimp into pot and return to simmer. Cover and cook until all seafood is opaque, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve with baguette slices and lemon wedges.


Crawfish Etouffee is a Cajun/Creole dish born out of Louisiana, a state known (and adored) for their abundance of crawfish. A New Orleans-style rendition boasts a smooth, buttery texture that lies somewhere between a stew and a bisque. It comes brimming with crawfish tails and is always served with a heaping hill of fluffy white rice.

This dish can be spicy, but most of the time, it’s mild enough for even small children to enjoy. Its flavor is rich and distinctly Creole thanks to the holy trinity of vegetables, Creole seasonings, Worcestershire and hot sauce.

Variations and Tips

  • Any firm, white boneless fillet would be great, I choose local and ask my fishmonger for the freshest options available. Here I used flounder cod, but halibut, or striped bass would make a great option.
  • When fresh fish is available, wait until the day or day before to buy it before you are going to cook it.
  • If fresh isn’t available, buy frozen instead of previously frozen to control freshness and keep it frozen until you need it.
  • Frozen fish fillets are great to keep on hand in the freezer. You can defrost them overnight in the fridge or pull from from the freezer and put them in an ice bath (in the package if they are individually wrapped or in a sealed Ziploc) for about 30 minutes
  • Swap the fish for scallops or shrimp if you’re not a fan of fish.

Well-Cooked Baccalà Is a Delight

The truth is that well-cooked baccalà is a delight: firm, slightly chewy, and not at all fishy in flavor. Italians import baccalà, and though most now come from Norway, some hold that its roots lie with the Portuguese. In any case, the traditional technique for producing high-quality baccalà is to take three- to six-foot-long cod, split them, salt them for about 10 days, and partially dry them. There are a number of different grades of baccalà before overfishing took its toll, the best came from fish caught off Labrador, in northeastern Canada.

Cacciucco, Livorno’s Fish Stew

Cacciucco alla Livornese, by the Ristorante Alcide in Poggibonsi

Cacciucco is a fish stew made along the Tuscan coast, made from whatever the fishmonger has that’s fresh and inexpensive, or hasn’t sold. There are many variations the most famous is from Livorno, where it is perked up with a healthy jolt of red pepper: It will sell you on fish if you don’t like fish already.

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of mixed fish, whatever is in season (it needn’t be expensive), for example, sole, mullet, catfish, dogfish, goby, squid, octopus, fresh shellfish, and shrimp or mantis shrimp. Chop the large fish, but leave the small ones whole
  • A half a medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A bunch of parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound sliced fresh or canned plum tomatoes (if they’re fresh, blanch and peel them)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar diluted in 3/4 cup of water
  • Salt and crumbled or minced hot red pepper to taste
  • Toasted Italian bread rubbed with garlic

Sauté the onion, parsley, and garlic in the oil in a deep bottomed pot. Once the onion has turned translucent, stir in the chopped tomatoes and season the mixture to taste. This is one of the few spicy Central Italian dishes, so don’t feel you must be sparing with the red pepper. When the tomatoes are done, stir in the water and vinegar. Simmer the for a few more minutes and remove the garlic. Blend the sauce and return it to the fire with the fish, and, if you wish, sprinkle another tablespoon or two of olive oil into the pot. Simmer the cacciucco until the fish is done, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, toast several slices of bread and rub them with a crushed clove of garlic.

Once the fish is done, line the bottoms of your bowls with the toasted bread, ladle the cacciucco over them, and serve.

A note: there are a number of schools of cacciucco in Livorno. This recipe is modern, and cooked briefly. More traditional recipes call for simmering the cacciucco considerably longer, up to 2-3 hours, and if you choose this path you should space out the fish more, cooking the swimming fish and the octopus or squid for much longer than you cook the shellfish and crustaceans.