I had a delicious fish stew while visiting family a few weeks ago and decided to try and recreate it at home. It was different than the original stew, but equally tasty, and will definitely become a regular winter meal in our house. There is something so comforting about warm soup on a cold night — it just feels like the right thing to be eating at this time of year.
In fact, eating warm foods in easy to digest forms, such as soup, is incredibly nourishing and healing because your body doesn’t have to expend as much energy in the digestion process. This allows your body to focus on other important things, such as nutrient absorption and immune function. So keep stoups and stews in mind as preventative medicine during the cold and flu seasons, as well as the first line of defense when you are fighting a bug.
Portuguese Fish Stew Ingredients (serves 4):
3 leeks, sliced and rinsed
2 red pepper, diced
5 medium potatoes, diced
2 white fish steaks – mahi mahi, cod, halibut etc.
1 cup chopped parsley
3 cups soup stock
juice from 3 oranges
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is particularly nice)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Begin by sauteing sliced leeks in a heavy-bottom soup pot. Once they begin to soften add the diced red potatoes and nestle in two fish steaks. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the chopped red peppers and parsley, and cover everything with the stock and orange juice. The orange juice in this stew is the secret ingredient (and part of what makes it Portuguese). Add the spices and simmer for 30 minutes. As the fish is cooking I like to break it up with a wooden spoon to you have bite sized pieces in the final stew.
Fish is a key addition to a healthy diet. It is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to support heart health and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Many people are finicky about fish and aren’t wild about the flavor. I’ve found it’s important for these people to have fish prepared with other strong flavors to keep things in balance. This stew seems to do the trick – it provides a healthy dose of fish without tasting “fishy”.
I was really pleased with this stew — it was hearty without being heavy, very flavorful and healthful, and actually quite easy to make. Let me know what you think!