When you think of fish stew, chicken isn’t what normally comes to mind. However, after tasting a version of the stew at my favorite wine bar and calling the chef to the mat, I found the secret to rich fish stew. It’s simple, good, fast and resourceful, because you can use your homemade chicken stock staple.

Fish Stew

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, brunoise (small dice)
  • 1 celery stalk, brunoise, reserve celery leaves
  • 1 small onion, brunoise
  • 1 leek, white part, cut and washed (float in water so grit can settle to bottom of bowl)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t crush red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound wild cod, cut into 1 inch pieces, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves, roughly chopped

Heat a Dutch oven over a medium flame. Add olive oil and vegetables and saute. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic. Once onions are translucent, add stock, water, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add cod and bring pot back to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook just until fish is cooked; 10 minutes should do. Optional: Cook longer until the fish falls apart to create a more cohesive texture with the small-diced vegetables. Taste and re-season as needed.

To finish, turn off heat, remove bay leaf and thyme stems and add chopped parsley and celery leaves. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil. Or cool completely and place in airtight containers to freeze or refrigerate.

Yield: 2 Quarts

Spending a little QT cooking a batch of soups now will give you ease of mind later when you’re menu-planning in a pinch. Just add a large salad, a crusty buttered warm baguette, a little cheese and a bottle of wine, and all is right with the world … and your belly.