Fish stew

fish stew

For a couple of days, I start to believe it was possible, after all, to feel the Spring. I even looked for my sun glasses and rush to the basement to a light coat… Well, much for my dismay, it seemed that Summer was last Tuesday, right on the very day I had a TC I could not reschedule. Wednesday was a bit iffy, Thursday, autumnal. Saturday, we all woke up to snowfall.

Not a single comment on Facebook or Twitter, but…. Fish stew it is. It could have been my mother’s caldeirada – it tastes as good as – but her recipe has a completely different method and a much briefer list of ingredients. In any case, it was delicious and warming. Comfort food doesn’t get much better than this… 

Fish stew (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)

Ingredients 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, very finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  • • 250g potatoes floury potatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Good pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml white wine
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
  •  600ml cold water
  • ½ fish stock cube
  •  2 tsp superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
  •  400g thick white fish fillet
  • 200g cooked and peeled king prawns, thawed
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish or wide, heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the onion and celery for 8 minutes until well softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Don’t let the garlic burn or it will give your stew a bitter flavour. If the onion starts to stick, add a splash of cold water to the pan. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 2cm chunks. Deseed the pepper and cut that into chunks too.

Stir the ground coriander, saffron and bay leaves into the casserole and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over the wine and let it all bubble for a few seconds before adding the yellow pepper, potatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, water, stock cube and sugar. Season with the ½ teaspoon of salt and plenty of ground black pepper.

Bring the stew to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are softened but not breaking apart. Trim the green beans, cut them in half and add them to the pan, then return to a simmer. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the skin from the fish fillets and cut the fish into rough 2.5cm chunks. Drop the fish pieces on top of the bubbling liquid and cover the pan with a lid. Poach the fish over a medium heat for 3 minutes or until it is almost cooked. Remove the lid and very gently stir in the prawns, trying not to break up the fish too much. Cover again and simmer for 2 minutes more or until the fish i opaque and the prawns are hot. Don’t let the prawns overcook.

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