This hearty dish is a classic from eastern North Carolina.
  • Makes: 12 servings
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

  • Recipe Created By:


  1. Cut the bacon slices into 1-inch squares. Brown it on the bottom of an 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Once it’s crisp, remove it and reserve.
  2. Whisk the tomato paste into the bacon fat, making sure you scrape up all the scattlings left from browning the bacon.
  3. With the heat off, begin layering the ingredients. Keep in mind you want to end up with three layers.
  4. Start with a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of onions and garlic, if using, followed by a layer of fish. Top the fish with a third of the salt and a third of the chili flakes. Repeat with two more layers.
  5. Fill the pot with enough water to just barely reach the top of the fish. If there’s a little fish peeking out over the top, that’s OK. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring up to a boil slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook at a high simmer for about 15 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness. They should be tender, not falling apart.
  6. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Then, with the stew at a good simmer, add the eggs one by one in a single layer over the top of the stew. You’re trying to cook whole eggs in the broth.
  7. Once the eggs are cooked through, use a large ladle to portion the stew. A proper serving is at least one piece of fish, two potatoes, some onions and an egg swimming in broth. Sprinkle each bowl with some bacon and serve with a slice of white bread.

Tips & Notes

Try cracking the eggs into a small cup before dropping them in the stew.


  1. How cooked are the egg yolks supposed to be when finished? Still runny? Like hard boiled eggs or what? I can’t find a recipe that gives that detail. Thanks.


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