I think spring is finally springing. You want to know how I know?
That’s right, Skamp told me. He said get this bleeping winter coat off of me already! And it truly has sprung. We have had days of nearly 70 F–which around here is a joy this time of year. But, in typical midwest fashion, we have also had days like today, where it is damp, the temperature is dropping and the wind is howling. In weather like this I like stews from hot weather places. On the one hand, they are warming. On the other hand, we can close our eyes while eating and pretend that we are in the Caribbean or on a beach in Brazil.
You just gotta close your ears to the howl of the wind (or pretend there is a hurricane, I guess). Use your imagination!
I was inspired to make this recipe by a dish from Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World’s Most Delicious Food Made Easy (by David Joachim). I did not expect to want this book, to tell you the truth. Cooking light is not really my thing, so much as cooking with real, whole foods and eating responsibly (in terms of portion and variety). But they did a fantastic job with this book. It is beautifully photographed, and the recipes are truly global in origin, unlike some internationally inspired cookbooks where everything is European or Southwestern (not to knock on either, I just like to see some truly diverse cuisines in my international cookbooks). But I did not use, for example, light coconut milk in my dish. This recipe makes a lot and I am not concerned about the fat from one can of coconut milk spread out into 10 or so servings!
This recipe was a big hit with my family. The avocado was an especially surprising hit–with me! I am not usually a big avocado fan, but the creamy chunks worked perfectly in this stew. Likewise, I would definitely use the potatoes. They provided a very similar creamy counterpoint to the tart lime spiked broth. In the summer I bet fresh picked sweet corn would also be wonderful, albeit not very traditional (I don’t know that mushrooms are either for that matter!). What the heck–living in the midwest you just kind of want to add sweet corn to everything in the summer!
- For the marinade:
- juice of 3-4 juicy limes
- ½ t coarse sea salt
- ½ t freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- For the stew:
- 1 lb medium sized shrimp
- 1-2 lbs firm white fleshed fish fillets, whatever is freshest (I used Pacific cod), cut into large chunks
- marinade from above
- 2-3 T vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ t dried thyme
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 sweet bell peppers
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 t ground cumin
- 4 medium-small tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves chopped separately
- 16 oz bottled clam juice
- 16 oz low sodium chicken stock
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into sized pieces
- 16 oz sliced button mushrooms
- 1 15-oz can coconut milk
- ½ t ancho chile powder
- For garnish:
- chopped cilantro leaves, from above
- lime wedges
- diced avocado
- Place the shrimp and fish into a sealable plastic bag with all of the marinade ingredients. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and thyme. Cook another minute.
- Add the green onions, bell peppers and cumin. Stir for another 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and chopped cilantro stems. Bring to a boil.
- Add the clam juice, chicken stock, chopped potatoes, mushrooms, coconut milk and ancho chile powder. Add a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Add the shrimp and fish with all of the marinade.
- Gently simmer until the shrimp and fish are cooked through (the shrimp will become curled and pink; the fish will become white and gently flake). This will take about 5 minutes depending on heat. Taste for salt.
- Serve immediately, garnished with the chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges and chopped avocado.
Affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items I would be discussing and linking to in any case.