Eastern Carolina-Style Shrimp Stew
Brown bacon in a large Dutch oven or cast-iron pot over medium, about 8 minutes. When crisp, remove with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to low and add onions, garlic and 1 tsp salt. Sweat for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add fennel and cook 3 minutes.Advertisement
Whisk in tomato paste and let brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, lemon zest, rosemary, chile flakes, 1 tsp salt and the stock. If stock doesn't cover potatoes by 2 inches, add water to do so.
Over very low heat, bring stew to a boil (this may take up to 30 minutes). Reduce to a simmer and cook 7 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are just tender. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with 2 tsp salt and the black pepper.
Once potatoes are just tender, raise heat slightly and bring stew to a boil. If using, crack each egg into a small bowl and carefully drop into stew around perimeter of pot. Take care not to break yolks or stir eggs into stew; you want whole eggs to poach. After about 3 minutes, drop seasoned shrimp in center of pot and around eggs. Once shrimp are submerged, turn off heat and let the whole thing sit for 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and perhaps some lemon juice.
To serve, make sure each bowl gets an egg, some potatoes and plenty of shrimp. Shower with bacon and fennel fronds. Serve with some bread for soaking up the broth.
Recipe courtesy Vivian Howard