Portuguese Fish Stew, Recipe from Soup Glorious Soup by Annie Bell

After delving into camping recipes, Annie Bell reminds us with Soup Glorious Soup (Kyle Books, US edition, October 2011) that soup is one of these dishes that can be enjoyed throughout the day, as an appetizer, as a main dish.

The 100 plus recipes cover every facet of the soup department from vegetables ('The Greengrocer' chapter) to bread ('The Baker') so old loaves don't go to waste.

Since I just shared a couple of recent wine picks, it felt natural to stay in the Iberian penisula with first recipe from Soup Glorious Soup.

A Portuguese Fish Stew:

A north wind blows through this soup, with cabbage and potato there are characteristics of a comforting hash here. Its selling points are its gutsy rusticity, its ease of preparation and its affordability – compared to the expense so many fish soups can run up. It’s great for all those little-known white fish fillets that greet us on the slab in the name of sustainability, which can be a deterrent when they don’t come with a reference. Here you are unlikely to go wrong, so it’s a good place to try them out. Dish it up with hearty slabs of grilled coarse-textured bread, splashed with olive oil.

Serves 6

3 ripe plum tomatoes

7 ounces Savoy cabbage, outer leaves removed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

7 ounces chorizo sausage (cooked or uncooked),

skinned, thickly sliced and diced

2 pounds new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups fish stock

sea salt, black pepper

2 pounds mixed white fish fillets, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces extra virgin olive oil* and coarsely chopped cilantro, to serve

Portuguese fish soup

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, cut out the central core from each tomato, plunge them into the boiling water for about 20 seconds, and then into cold water. Skin and coarsely chop them. Slice the cabbage leaves into fine strands, discarding the tough central veins.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Pour off the fat (leave this to harden before throwing away), and then add the potatoes. Give them a stir, and then add the wine and cook to reduce by half. Add the chopped tomatoes and fish stock and bring to a boil. Skim off any surface foam, and then simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Coarsely mash the potato using a potato masher and season to taste with salt – the chorizo will have done most of the work here.

To serve, add the cabbage, bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper, add it to the soup and poach for 5 minutes. Serve in warm bowls with some olive oil poured over the top and a scattering of chopped fresh cilantro.

A good case here for using your finest quality oil.

(* Recipe from Soup Glorious Soup by Annie Bell published by Kyle Books, U.S edition, October 2011, reproduced by permission, all rights reserved. Photo by Richard Jung).

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