Pine Bark Stew

another fresh seafood idea

During Revolutionary War times, Carolina cooks concocted the fish stew using the tender roots of pine trees for flavoring, along with a slab of bacon and a red pepper pod.

  • 2 ½ pounds trout fillets or other fish (you may use 2 species)
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 ½ cups diced potatoes
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2-inch piece of dried red pepper pod
  • 4 or 5 small tomatoes, peeled, or equivalent canned.

Cut bacon into squares and sauté over very low heat until lightly browned. Drain off all but about 3 tablespoons fat. Stir in onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, cover with boiling water, and season with salt, herbs and dried pepper pod. Simmer until potatoes are partly done, about 10 minutes. Add whole fish and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or more, until fish flakes easily and potatoes are tender. Remove pepper pod before serving. Serves 6-8.

Note: The modern version of this stew eliminates the original pine flavoring.

Contributed by Joyce Taylor, June/July 1983 issue of Coastwatch.

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