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Southern Catfish Stew

Updated on August 16, 2012

Southern Catfish Stew

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A Great Fish Stew

Catfish stew is a delicious dish that is most commonly found in the southern region of the United States. It is a combination of catfish filets, potatoes, crushed tomatoes, onions, and hot sauce. This version also adds lima beans to make it more hearty. Some people cook a white catfish stew which is a version that eliminates the tomatoes. White catfish stew is less common than traditional catfish stew.

Catfish stew is great served with hushpuppies, cornbread, or oyster crackers. Also good served in a bread bowl.

Note: Be cautious of fish bones even if you buy fish filets from the grocery store instead of catching and making your own.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: Several servings


  • 5 lbs catfish filets
  • 3 lb red potatoes, sliced
  • 1 lb medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 lb fatback
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper, course ground
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce, optional
  • 32 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 bag baby lima beans, frozen

Catfish Stew

  1. Heat a large heavy soup pot and fry fatback until all the grease is out in the pot. The fatback will be hard and crunchy but not burned.
  2. Cut the catfish filets into 2 inch pieces. Slice the potatoes and onions.
  3. Heat the fatback grease (left in the pot) over medium heat. Place in layer of potato slices (about 1/2), onions (about 1/2), fish filets (about 1/2), lima beans, 16 oz tomatoes and tomato paste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat the layers. Put fried fatback on the top. Add the hot sauce and rest of the spices.
  4. Let cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender and the fish flakes easily. This stew does not need extra water as it cooks and makes its own juice.
  5. Serve with hushpuppies or crackers. Watch out for fish bones. Enjoy!


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    • beccacooling profile image

      Becca 5 years ago from Southwest Georgia

      I don't blame you for not eating the heads. I just can't eat anything with eyeballs looking at me lol. This recipe has no heads, so you will be safe trying it :) Thanks for visiting my page and I hope you will visit frequently.

    • backporchstories profile image

      backporchstories 5 years ago from Kentucky

      This sounds really good. I remember visiting a small mountain village in the middle of Mexico and the people there served us up some fish stew. The fish heads were even floating in the rue....but it was good...just did not eat the head. LOL