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South Florida Fish Stew

This is a very spicy soup.  Its relatively quick to make though it has a large list of ingredients.  I say quick because it doesn’t require any pre-made stock.  I love this soup at the end of summer, when the end of the tomato crop is still around (I’ve tried it with canned tomatoes, but this dish just does better when they are fresh.)  It's one of those soups you want to make when Fall is starting to set in, and you feel like comfort food, but its not cold enough outside for a heavy stew.



2 lbs fish fillets, cut into 1” cubes (I use Halibut)
2 slices bacon, diced (optional, use 2 more Tbs butter if not using)
2 Tbs butter
3 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
3 Anaheim (long, green) chilies, diced
4 large tomatoes, seeded, chopped or processed
1 cup white wine
3 16 ounce cans coconut milk
½ cup heavy cream (skip if you use regular coconut milk instead of lite)
1 Tbs sugar (if using “Lite” coconut milk)
2 tps Ground chipotle chilies (dried, not in adobo sauce)
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs oregano
1 Tbs ground coriander
½ tps saffron
2 tps savory
Salt & pepper

  • In a hot 6 quart Dutch oven, add the diced bacon.  Sauté until edges just start to turn brown.  Remove from the pan onto paper towels and reserve.
  • Add the butter to the pan and heat until it begins to bubble.  Add the garlic and allow it to sauté until you can smell it.  Don’t’ let it start to brown.  
  • Add the onions and sauté until they are fully soft and translucent, but not caramelized.
  • Add the peppers and chilies, and sauté until they are soft and wilt a bit.
  • Add all the dry seasonings and sauté for another two minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and white wine.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down, slightly
  • Add the coconut milk (and optional cream), and bring to a slow boil.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the coconut milk starts to thicken.

You can stop the cooking process right here, if you are preparing in advance.  Let the stew cool, then refrigerate.  When you are ready to serve, heat until just bubbling, and then continue. 

  • Add the fish and lower the heat until liquids just bubble.  Simmer 10-15 minutes, very slowly, until the fish is cooked through.  Taste, and adjust seasoning.  Sugar can be added if the stew tastes too acidic.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add more chipotle to increase heat, if desired.


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