Sunday Dinner: Summer Seafood Stew

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's been a rainy weekend here in South Florida as  we await Tropical Storm Isaac. We definitely had a lazy day in my house which I thoroughly enjoyed after the rush of the first week back to school! I don't know if it's the cool, wet weather or the feeling that fall is at our doorsteps, but comfort food seemed to be in order tonight for Sunday Dinner. I've had a week full of cooking heavier, meaty dishes - rabbit, beef bacon, turkey and lamb - so the only thing I plan to eat for awhile is seafood and vegetarian meals. Ever since talking to a good friend of mind about the fish stew she prepared last week, it's been on my mind. I love a good fish stew and lean towards those prepared Spanish-style with a tomato base, so I took elements from various stews I've had or wanted to try and made my own version. What I liked about it was that even though it filled us up and packed a ton of flavor, it wasn't a heavy dish at all. I rarely eat soups or stews in the summer, so this was a treat. I purchased cod, shrimp and scallops as those were the best deals at the seafood counter today. You can substitute any meaty white fish or even salmon. If fresh seafood isn't an option, thawing a bag of frozen mixed seafood can be economical. Our grocery stores here sell $5 bags of shrimp, mussels, squid and scallops that would work perfect in any fish stew. To finish off this zesty, healthy Sunday Dinner, my son helped me make sweet potato biscuits, coconut brown rice and sauteed zucchini. Dinner came together nicely and definitely brought us some comfort on this rainy summer evening. For all of my readers in Isaac's path, be safe out there tonight and in the coming days!

Summer Seafood Stew

2 lbs mixed seafood:
--1 lb cod
--1/2 lb shrimp, deveined & shells reserved
--1/2 lb scallops
2 onions, sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2" piece fresh ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored & seeds removed
1 green bell pepper, cored & seeds removed
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes
8 oz. natural clam juice
2 c. organic chicken broth
1 c. dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1 lemon
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil

Servings: 6 - 8
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 60 min
Equipment Needed: Large pot or dutch oven

The best way to cook a flavorful stew is by building flavors slowly and allowing the broth plenty of time to simmer. I started this one by cooking sliced onions in coconut oil over medium heat. You want these to get soft and translucent as they start to brown, approximately 10 minutes.

While the onions cooked, I prepped my remaining veggies. The minced garlic and ginger can be added to the onions and cooked a few more minutes until fragrant.

Add the peppers and jalapeno to the pot and continue to cook until peppers are crisp tender, 3 - 4 minutes. 

Season with coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. 

Add the clam juice, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Stir to incorporate the seasoning into the broth, scraping up any browned bits of garlic and ginger at the bottom of the pot. 

Add some chopped cilantro and parsley. Reduce heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes. If you are making the stew ahead of time, now is a good time to stop. The seafood should not be added until just before serving, so the broth can be reheated when you are ready to finish the stew.

Chop up the fish into bite size chunks. Add to a bowl with the scallops and peeled shrimp. Squeeze one of the lemons over the fish and season with a good pinch of coriander, cumin, cilantro and parsley. Toss lightly and set aside. 

I almost always buy shrimp with the shells still on because it saves me a couple dollars per pound. Another great thing about that is the shells add a ton of shrimp flavor to your broth. After rinsing them off, place them into a small sieve, and then dip the sieve into your broth so that the shells cook in the liquid. Simmer for a few minutes until the shells are pink, then remove the sieve and discard the shrimp shells.

Increase heat to medium low. Finish the broth by adding the white wine as well as the juice and zest from the remaining lemon. Allow to simmer for a couple minutes. Now is an excellent time to pour yourself a glass of wine if you haven't already! The seafood should now be added by order of what takes longest to cook. In my case, I added the cod fish and allowed that to cook until the fish was opaque, about 5 minutes. Next I added the shrimp and scallops and cooked another 3 - 4 minutes until the shrimp was pink. I seasoned to taste with just a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat, toss in some extra parsley and cilantro, and serve immediately!

The great thing about stews is the ability to finish some simple side dishes while the main dish cooks. I let my son help make a pot of my Coconut Brown Rice, and we also made some delicious sweet potato biscuits using baked organic sweet potatoes. I veganized this biscuit recipe by substituting coconut milk and shortening for the buttermilk and butter. We also added a touch of cinnamon. They were subtly sweet, tender and Jaden devoured them, so I'm going to continue to work on the vegan version to post for The Kitchenista Diaries soon!

At the last minute I decided we needed some green veggies on our plate so I let my son choose. He asked for sauteed zucchini, which was a great addition to the menu. So about 10 minutes before dinner was ready, I quickly sauteed some sliced zucchini in coconut oil, adding lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, sea salt & pepper.

The soup was perfect with a scoop of coconut brown rice! I debated adding coconut milk to my broth for this recipe, and ended up leaving it out. I liked how the rice added a hint of coconut flavor without making the stew too rich as the coconut milk probably would have.


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  2. Omg!! this all looks delicious! I have to make this!