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Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew is a hearty and rich preparation made with seafood as the main ingredient. The seafood used in making the dish can be of one type or a combination of 2 or more seafoods. Essentially a winter preparation, the stew is exceptionally popular in the coastal regions. It is regularly cooked and served almost everywhere in the world. Since the ancient times, seafood stews have been an important culinary preparation and references to the same have been found in cookery books and documents from the Middle Ages and even earlier.

Seafood Stew Recipe Overview

Ingredients: Ingredients typically used in the preparation of seafood stews include seafood of choice (preferably as fresh as possible, but frozen seafood can also be used; can be of one type or combination of 2 or more), broth (seafood, chicken, etc., preferably homemade), white wine (or beer), onions, oil, water and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Vegetables and meats that complement seafood are often added to make the dish richer and more filling. Carrot, cabbage, tomato, potato, leeks, celery, corn, peas, beef, chicken and pork, to name a few, are popular additions. Herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, paprika, thyme, parsley, coriander, cumin, etc., are used to add aroma and taste to the stew.

Preparation Overview: Seafood stews are a fairly easy preparation and it takes about 40 minutes to make 2 to 3 servings; although this generally depends on the type of seafood being used. While some meats are done in a few minutes, some others can take even an hour to cook completely. The seafood (and other meats and/or vegetables, if used) is first cleaned, sliced as required and then cooked for a few minutes in oil. The sautéed ingredients are then transferred to a large Dutch oven, along with all other ingredients, and the stew is cooked till the ingredients are done and the gravy is thick and rich.

Seafood Stew Recipe Variations

  • Moqueca - Also known as Muqueca, Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian stew made with seafood. The dish dates back to over 300 years and it generally consists of garlic, tomatoes, fish, onions, cilantro and additional ingredients of choice. The dish is slow cooked and no water is added.
  • Bouillabaisse - The popular European stew is made with various types of cooked fish, shellfish, other seafood and vegetables. The dish is cooked with a combination of boiling and simmering. In a traditional Bouillabaisse, scorpionfish, sea robin and European conger are an absolute must-add.
  • Zarzuela de Mariscos - The Spanish version of traditional seafood stews is made with fish and shellfish of choice, bell peppers, garlic, onion, ham, white wine and local herbs and spices. The seafood used is always fresh and the dish is slow cooked for maximum flavor.
  • Brodetto - The traditional Italian seafood stews are made with a wide array of ingredients. There are various versions of Brodetto, each with its own set of additions. Clams are quite popular and almost always a part of the stew.

Serving Suggestions

Seafood stews are a hearty winter preparation, generally served piping hot as a part of a dinner or lunch meal. When served with white rice or toasted breads, the stew can also be an entire meal in itself. White wine is often considered a good pairing-drink and popular garnishes include cheese, chopped chives, snipped parsley and chopped coriander. The stew can also be served as an appetizer (in small quantities) as well as a snack.

Seafood Stews Trivia

Chowders (clam and fish) are often viewed as ancestors of the modern day thick Seafood Stew recipes.