Brazilian Fish Stew

A few weeks ago, I found myself climbing a mountain. It was foggy and misty when we got to the top, but coming down, the sun had peaked and it was warm. As we started down, the discussion turned to food and dinner because we were both starving. Somehow this luscious fish chowder came up and I couldn’t let it go, despite being tired. It’s been ages since I made it and I knew it would be perfect for dinner despite being a bit of work to fix; nothing fussy, just a few more steps than I normally would take after a long day.

Please note and take my advice; make this on a lazy evening, when you 1. Have plenty of time to relax and cook and aren’t too tired; and 2. Have all the time in the world to spend in the kitchen instead of watching the Tony Awards. I was in and out of the kitchen watching the terrific broadcast with the best opening performance ever (if you are a theater buff and haven’t seen it, you can watch it here). So needless to say when I made this, I was completely distracted toward the end and dinner was really late, even for me–as in closer to 9 p.m.! But regardless, it was delicious, and it’s gluten- and dairy-free, too! Admittedly, this is a rather expensive dish, with two different kinds of seafood plus clam juice , but it makes several meals if you are serving it for two, or it’s perfect for a special meal to make for a summertime dinner party!


Brazilian Fish Stew
Originally published in the September 2001 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

This recipe calls for sea bass or halibut, but I always substitute a light, white fish, usually cod. 

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1 1/2-pound) sea bass or halibut fillet, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup minced green onions (about 1 bunch)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 large)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, and bay leaf; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato, and cook 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup cilantro, clam juice, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

3. Place one-third of vegetable mixture in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour pureed vegetable mixture into pan. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable mixture. Add coconut milk and red pepper to pureed vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes. Add fish mixture; cook 3 minutes or until fish is done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro.

14 thoughts on “Brazilian Fish Stew

  1. Hmmmmm…Not a fan of clam flavor……what to do about the clam juice? Any ok substitutes? I know you will say, “you can’t really taste it” but the princess in me will turn up her nose and be unwilling to try this. Please help!

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