Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Savory Fish Stew Women's Day, December 1954

I'm not a big fan of fish unless it's grilled but hubby and my dad, who is visiting from California, love bouillabaisse and I'm sure not up for that.  (I once texted hubby from the grocery store asking what he'd like for dinner and he sent me a recipe for bouillabaisse with 25 ingredients!  Seriously.  And no, I didn't make it.)  This recipe was better than I thought it would be and I got me over my distaste of non-crunchy fish.

The original recipe

  • 3 Large onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4C Olive oil (I used less- about 2-3T)
  • 2 Large potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2t Salt
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4C Tomato paste
  • 1T Paprika
  • 2lbs Cod or haddock, fresh or frozen and thawed (I used cod), cut into bite sized pieces

As you can see I omitted/changed a few things; The green pepper (Hubby absolutely HATES it!), the peppercorns (I hate them.  But I'm not quite as vocal about it.  Thus no caps necessary.),  and I swapped the salad oil for olive oil.  I really used 3 onions.  My dad and I were wondering if onions were smaller in the 1950's because it looked like a lot of onions in the pot.  But I wanted to stay true as possible to the recipe and I'm glad I did.  The onions added a nice texture.

The original recipe says it serves 4-6.  I think it's more like 6-8.  It was a hit with the adults but my girls wouldn't even consider tasting it.  My son, the 9 year old foodie, tasted it but gave it a thumbs down.

So here's how to put it all together:

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat.  (I used a Dutch oven but whatever you have is fine.)  Cook the onions until light brown.  Add potatoes, salt, garlic and bay leaves.  Stir gently and cook for a few minutes.  Add 4 cups water, bring to a boil and cover.  Lower the temp and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and paprika to the pot.  Stir gently (To keep the bay leaves intact.).  Add the fish and simmer covered for another 20 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

This is what you get:

The finished stew

I had this bread in the freezer and it was perfect with the stew!  Surprisingly this reheated well for leftovers the next day.  (Usually reheated fish doesn't do well.  I've tried.)  I gave a little taste to my pooch and he loved it too!



  1. "My son, the 9 year old foodie, tasted it but gave it a thumbs down." I laughed out loud at that. I also like that you didn't make the recipe your hubby texted to you! : )

  2. Averyl, I'm glad you got a tickle out of that. He really is a foodie though. His favorite treats are lobster and crab legs. He orders off the adult menu while my 15 and 13 year olds still order off the kiddie menu. Once when my oldest was told she couldn't order from the kid menu she and my son ordered for each other and switched plates once the waiter left.

    As for my darling hubby he doesn't cook much so he had no idea how much work was involved. But I called and told him. :)

    Thanks for commenting!


  3. I have a ridiculous collection of these kinds of cookbooks. The funny thing is, that I think have this recipe in a newer, Italian cookbook and I think, because I am far too lazy to stand up and go to the shelf, that it was called bourtheto. (It probably has some accents that I'm omitting). The kids hated it, but I found it perfect for a chilly day.

    1. Heather, you crack me up! I think a lot of recipes are reinvented or simply renamed every decade or so. Although some are very typical of the decade- like fondue in the '70s. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. This sounds interesting. I don't know if my hubby would go for it, though. In Texas we usually have the popular cornmeal-breaded and fried catfish. I know, probably bad for you! Factory farmed catfish at that.

    Re: your comment about the onions. I'll bet they were smaller years ago like you said! These days, nearly everything has been bred to be bigger, aka the bigger is better mantra.


    1. Aileen, I'm from Texas too and I totally get the appeal of cornmeal fried catfish. It is so good!