Hearty Fish Stew Recipe

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If you love a hearty stew, this fish stew should be right up your alley. It’s hearty and filling, and the flavor is mild but tasty and definitely comforting.

Living in Maine, it’s hard not to include more seafood in your everyday cooking. I have fought against it for a long time because I always struggle with overcooking seafood. In fact, it’s darn near a well-honed talent.

A wood bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew. A bunch of fresh parsley sits behind it with a head of garlic.

But through trial and error, I have found that making fish soups or seafood stews sidesteps much of that issue for me, so I’m now making a lot more of them, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I get soft, tender seafood every time.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Fish Stew Recipe

  1. Quick And Easy – Aside from some chopping, this is an easy fish stew that comes together quickly. You won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. In fact, you can prep the veggies ahead of time or purchase them already diced to make this even faster.
  2. Hearty And Comforting – This is one of those stews where you know you’ve had a full and healthy meal once your bowl is empty. You won’t feel the need to eat more. It’s comfort food in a bowl that truly satisfies.
  3. Family Style Eating – This is a big pot of soup that is mild enough for the whole family to enjoy but flavorful enough for people to ask for the recipe.
An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew. Fresh parsley and two heads of garlic surround the bowl.

Can I Use Other Types Of Fish For This Fish Stew?

Absolutely! If cod and shrimp aren’t a combo you think you’ll enjoy, try any of these. You can also add some of this in addition to the cod and shrimp if you want even more seafood in your stew.

  1. Salmon – Salmon adds a rich, robust flavor that works best as an addition to this stew rather than a substitute for any of the other seafood in the recipe.
  2. Halibut – Halibut has a mild flavor and adds variety to the mix. I recommend using this as a substitute for cod since the flavors of the two fish are both mild. But you can also add it in addition to the shrimp and cod, if you prefer.
  3. Sea Bass – Sea bass adds a delicate flavor and can be added in addition to, or as a substitute for, the cod.
  4. Haddock – Similar to cod, Haddock has a mild flavor. You can use it as a substitute for cod or include it for more variety. From personal experience, Haddock is a heartier fish that will hold up well.
  5. Mahi-Mahi – This is a firm fish with a slightly sweet flavor. This makes a great addition to the stew rather than a substitute.
  6. Scallops – Scallops can be a great addition to this stew. They can also be used as a substitute for the shrimp.
  7. Lobster – Lobster tail chunks are a great addition to this stew.
  8. Snapper – Snapper fillet can be cut into chunks and added additionally to this stew.
  9. Tilapia – Tilapia fillet pieces can be included, but some folks feel strongly against it. Use your conscious here.

The most important part of choosing the fish you want to use is to opt for fresh-caught fish. Try to avoid farmed fish as much as possible.

Optional & Additional Seasoning For This Fish Stew Recipe

If you want to round out the flavors even further, try adding any of the following:

  • A quarter to half teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some kick.
  • Add a small can of tomato paste to get a thicker, heavier tomato flavor and texture.
  • Dill adds great flavor to this stew. Try adding one teaspoon to start. You can add more to taste.
  • Grated lemon zest can brighten up the stew. Add it towards the end of cooking.
A front view of a wood bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew and garnished with fresh parsley.

About The Fish Stew Recipe Ingredients

Fish stock – Make sure there is no added sugar.

Extra virgin olive oil – You can also use avocado oil or any mild-flavored oil you’re comfortable using.

Red onion – While yellow onion will work, I highly recommend red onion for its sweeter flavor.

Garlic cloves – Use large, fresh cloves. The flavor is best if you press the garlic. But if you don’t have a garlic press, the next best thing is to finely mince the garlic.

Carrots – Dice these on the smaller side for the best texture.

Celery stalks – Here again, dice them small for the best texture.

Diced tomatoes – No sugar added.

Potatoes – I used fingerling potatoes, but yellow potatoes or red potatoes will work well here. You can use russet potatoes, but the overall texture will be better with a sturdier potato.

Dried thyme

Dried oregano

Bay leaves – Use larger leaves.

Frozen, cooked shrimp – I get mine at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never cooked raw shrimp before, so I always buy them pre-cooked. If you know how to use raw shrimp, go for it! Either way, use large shrimp. Small ones will get rubbery too easily.

Fresh cod fillet – If it has skin on it, ask the butcher to remove it. While cod skin is edible, I find it doesn’t add the best texture to this stew. If you don’t have cod, pretty much any mild white fish will do.

Cooked Great Northern beans – You can also use cannellini beans or any mild white bean. Add as much or as little as you like of these.

Salt – To taste after cooking. Taste before adding. Some fish stock is saltier than others.

Ground black pepper – To taste after cooking.

Fresh parsley – This is a delicious garnish. Try not to skip it. Chop the parsley finely. Either type of parsley will work, but Italian (flat-leaf) parsley tastes best.

How To Make Fish Stew

Chunky Fish Stew Recipe ingredients in individual bowls on a gray surface.
Fresh cod chunks and frozen shrimp on a cutting board.

Gather and measure all your ingredients.

Chopped onions, carrots and celery cooking in oil in a soup pot.

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables just begin to soften. Stir constantly.

Adding pressed garlic to a soup pot of chopped vegetables.

In the last minute of cooking, add the garlic and continue stirring.

Pouring fish stock into a soup pot with sautéd vegetables.
Adding cut potato chunks to a soup pot of stock and chopped veggies.
Adding diced tomatoes to the soup pot.
Spices added to stock and vegetables in a soup pot.

Pour in the fish stock and add the diced tomatoes with their juices. Also, add the potatoes, dried thyme, dried oregano, and bay leaves. Stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Cod and shrimp added to stock and veggies in a soup pot.

Add the frozen, cooked shrimp and fresh cod fillet pieces to the pot. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until the seafood is heated through and the cod is cooked.

An overhead view of a wooden bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew.

Season with salt and pepper and adjust the herbs to taste. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the hearty fish stew hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

How To Store Leftover Fish Stew

Store leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge at all times for up to three days.

Freezing Fish Stew

While you can certainly freeze this stew, I wouldn’t do it for long. The texture of the fish changes in freezing. I would limit the time to one month, tops.

Reheating Fish Stew

This is easily reheated in a pot on the stovetop. While a microwave will do the trick, it does tend to make the seafood more rubbery.

More Healthy Fish Recipes

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A wood bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew. A bunch of fresh parsley sits behind it with a head of garlic.

Hearty Fish Stew Recipe

Delicious, hearty fish stew the whole family will love.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 162kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large soup pot

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen, pre-cooked, large shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh cod filet (cut into stew chunks)
  • 4 cans fish stock (approximately 60 oz. in total, give or take)
  • 2 cups diced red onion
  • 6 large garlic cloves (pressed or minced)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooked Great Northern beans (cannelini or any mild, white eans work too)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • fresh, chopped parsley (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Gather and measure all your ingredients.
    Chunky Fish Stew Recipe ingredients in individual bowls on a gray surface.
  • In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables just begin to soften. Stir constantly.
    Chopped onions, carrots and celery cooking in oil in a soup pot.
  • In the last minute of cooking, add the garlic and continue stirring. Pour in the fish stock and add the diced tomatoes with their juices. Also, add the potatoes, dried thyme, dried oregano, and bay leaves. Stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
    Spices added to stock and vegetables in a soup pot.
  • Add the frozen, cooked shrimp and fresh cod fillet pieces to the pot. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the seafood is heated through and the cod is cooked.
    Cod and shrimp added to stock and veggies in a soup pot.
  • Season with salt and pepper and adjust the herbs to taste. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the hearty fish stew hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
    An overhead view of a wooden bowl filled with Chunky Fish Stew.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1661IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author. She is also a food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. She has helped thousands of people learn to cook simple, clean, and healthy foods in their own home kitchens. She lives in Maine and loves Elvis, sunflowers, and a good seafood chowder, as well as travel writing.

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