Kevin Mitchell's catfish stew is elevated with olive oil, fresh tomatoes and lump crab

Kevin Mitchell
Chef Kevin Mitchell created his own version of classic catfish and crab stew for "Taste the State." (Courtesy of University of South Carolina Press)

About the recipe

Chef Kevin Mitchell included this recipe in his 2021 book “Taste the State” written with historian David Shields. The book is a guide to ingredients and recipes that form South Carolina’s unique flavors:

When I created my own version of catfish stew for a live demonstration, I chose a healthier preparation, using olive oil instead of bacon or butter. My contemporary interpretation is a red, tomato-based version, but I use fresh tomatoes and add okra, corn (which is traditional in white catfish stew) and crab.


6 ounces olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced green pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup sliced fresh okra

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

3 cup diced fresh tomato, peeled, seeded and diced 

2 cups tomato purée

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 pounds fresh catfish fillets, diced

1-pound lump crab meat, picked through to remove any shell

1 cup chopped green onion

½ cup chopped parsley


Heat 2 ounces of the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and sauté them until the onion begins to get tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté the vegetables for an additional 2 minutes. Add the okra and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes. Add corn and sauté for 3 minutes more. 

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken stock, tomato and tomato purée. Bring to a strong simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Add catfish and cook for an additional 10 minutes until fish is cooked. Add the crab meat. Place the pot over medium heat and cook the stew for an additional 5 minutes to ensure catfish is fully cooked and crab is warmed through. Add the green onion and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Serve over steamed rice or grits if desired.

More recipes from Kevin Mitchell

Excerpted with permission from Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories by Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields, published by the University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina, © 2021.