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Conch/Whelk Stew


  • 1 quart conch (whelk), cleaned, cut in small pieces and tenderized
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

In a large pot fry the bacon. Remove bacon. Add oil and flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in water. Add conch (whelk) and salt, stir well.  Bring to boil for 15 minutes then skim the foam off the top, add black pepper and stir. (Watch closely to prevent from boiling over.)

Cover and continue to cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Add cornmeal dumplings, cook 30 minutes longer or until conch (whelk) is tender. If needed, adjust seasoning.

Donna’s Cornmeal Dumplings 

  • 1 cup plain medium ground cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ¾ cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Slowly add water and mix well. Next, form dumplings and add to stew. Cook 30 minutes.

Contributed by Vanda Lewis


Most folks think these animals are interchangeable, but there are actually separate species, not to be confused with the more tropical variety of conchs. We do have a species of conch and several species of whelks here in NC. Both are gastropods which is a class of animals that includes land snails, slugs, and nudibranchs. You can collect up to 10/day with no size limits.

Erika Young, Coastal and Marine Education Specialist