Fish Stew is a hearty and filling preparation made with fish as the main ingredient. In essence, a stew is a combination of solid foods that have been cooked in water or broth and served in the gravy that has been formed in the process. Fish stews have been a popular preparation since the ancient times and references to the same have been found in cook books and texts from the Middle Ages. The dish is very versatile and there are many variations of the same. In addition to being a popular household preparation, fish stews are a regular feature on menus of various restaurants, cafes and eateries.
Fish Stew Recipe Overview
Ingredients: Ingredients that are typically used in the preparation of Fish Stew include fish fillets (of choice and preferably fresh), broth (seafood, fish, chicken, etc., preferably homemade), onions, tomato, dry white wine, oil and a light seasoning of salt and pepper. Vegetables and meats (generally seafood) that complement fish are often added to the dish. While carrot, potato, beans, bell peppers, corn, leeks and celery, to name a few, are among the most popularly added vegetables, meats that are added to the soup with fish include seafood, beef, pork, etc. Kitchen herbs and spices like paprika, parsley, garlic, ginger, white salt, pepper, etc., add flavor and aroma to the dish.
The fish used in making the stew depends on personal preferences and the recipe being followed. Flour is added at times to thicken the stew.
Preparation Overview: Stews are generally slow cooked and perfect for least tender meat cuts. Cooking fish stews, however, increases the flavor of fillets and these take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook. The vegetables are sautéed first for a few minutes in a large Dutch Oven or slow cooker. The broth/water, wine, fillets, seasonings, etc., are then added to the oven or cooker and the stew is cooked till done.
Fish Stew Recipe Variations
Fish Stew is a very versatile dish and there are many variations of the same, mostly based on the variety of fillet and additional vegetables, meats and/or spices used. Over the years, many regional variations of the preparation have emerged that make the most of local ingredients.
- Bouillabaisse - Fish stew variation from Provence
- Caldeirada - The Portuguese variation.
- Cotriade - A variation of the dish from Brittany.
- Pescado Blanco - Stew made with white fish, from Patzcuaro Michoacán Mexico.
A very filling and hearty preparation, fish stews are served piping hot, mostly as entire meal. These can also be served as an appetizer (in smaller quantities) as well as a side dish or a snack. Toasted bread or garlic bread makes a good accompaniment and the stew is generally ladled into soup bowls and then served individually.
Fish Stews Trivia
The first known documented reference to Fish Stew has been found in the Roman cookbook Apicius. It is believed to date from the 4th century.