Tilghman Island Stew

Posted · 10 Comments
Tilghman Island Stew
Recipe type: Main Dish, Stew
Serves: 4 to 6
Moosewood's Dave Dietrich and Joan Adler spent their honeymoon at a beautiful waterman's village on Tilghman Island in Maryland. Inspired by the local crab and the fresh produce from the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore, Dave created this stew soon after he returned to Ithaca. There is a geological connection between the Finger Lakes region of New York and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. When the Ice Age glaciers that created the topography of central New York melted, the sediment washed down the Susquehanna River and collected to form the Eastern Shore, the peninsula that informs the Chesapeake Bay. We appreciate that folks there have done such good things with the soil sent down river to them.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1½ cups canned tomatoes with juice (14.5-ounce can)
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 2 cups stemmed and halved green beans
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen okra (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini and/or yellow squash (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • grated Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • chopped fresh parsley or scallions
  1. Cube the sweet potatoes into ½-inch pieces and immerse them in water right away to prevent discoloration. Drain before adding to the stew.
  2. In a soup pot, warm the oil briefly on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; then cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. If necessary to prevent sticking, add ¼ cup of the water or stock.
  5. Add the celery and Old Bay Seasoning and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and water or vegetable stock. Increase the heat to a moderate boil.
  7. Stir in the kale and green beans.
  8. When the stew returns to a simmer, stir in the corn and, if you wish, the okra, and cook until the green beans are just tender.
  9. Add the bell peppers and, if you like, the zucchini and/or yellow squash and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender. Stir in the soy sauce and lemon juice.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  11. Serve topped with grated cheese, if you like, and a sprinkling of parsley or scallions.

Serve with Cornbread or Lemon Thyme Biscuits


10 Responses to "Tilghman Island Stew"
  1. Thanks for the share!

  2. Margaret says:

    I made this last week with kale from a CSA share – outstanding

  3. Billy Boy says:

    Very distinctive and hearty vegetable stew. The lemon in it brings all the other flavors together.

  4. Billy Boy says:

    Just made this stew again. Insanely good! Thanks so much for the recipe. I went out and bought “Moosewood New Classics” because of this … more good eats to come!

  5. Polly says:

    Made this stew for the first time this week and loved it so much that I gave the recipe to all my friends that I am trying to turn Vegan. I do not know where to get Old Bay Spice so I made it myself. Thanks!

    • laura says:

      Hi Polly,
      Glad you like this great stew! If you Google Old Bay Seasoning, you can see places where it’s sold and where you can order it. But making it yourself was really clever!

  6. Paula says:

    All my kids love this! We use 1/4 the Old Bay to tone it down for them. AWESOME recipe!! Thanks!

  7. Paula says:

    We all love this recipe. We use 1/4 the Old Bay. GREAT recipe. Thank you!!

  8. Kel Coleman says:

    Growing up in Baltimore and remembering the spicy aromas coming from the old McCormick’s factory across from the harbor, Old Bay goes into many of my recipes, even potato salad. This is one of the best stews I’ve ever tasted and, since cutting vegetables is almost therapeutic for me, it was fun to make. Thank you all for some of the greatest recipes. As an added bonus, your website is very attractive.

    • laura says:

      I shared your comment with Dave Dietrich and Joan Adler, who developed this recipe. Dave grew up in Baltimore, and they honeymooned on Tilghman Island.
      Glad you like the website!

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