Cod and bean stew

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Cod and bean stew is an easy dish to make. Cod is a popular white fish despite having been over-fished. Ensure that you buy fish that comes from a carefully controlled source, or else use an alternative fish, such as hoki, hake, haddock, whiting, coley or pollack. Basically, any white fish would work quite well. All ingredients, a fresh cod, luxurious saffron and smoked paprika-spiced beans,  are cooked in one pot and make this divine dish. It is not heavy  or too spicy, but still can warm you up in colder days. The special additions to this dish is grilled pepper and pimentón.

Ingredients:

1 large red bell pepper

4 rashers (strips) streaky (fatty) bacon, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 onion, sliced

5 ml/1 tsp hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)

large pinch of saffron threads or 1 sachet powdered saffron, soaked in 45 ml/3 tbsp hot water

6 large plum tomatoes, quartered

350 g fresh skinned cod fillet, cut into large chunks

45 ml/3tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), plus a bit for garnish

45 ml/3 tbsp olive oil

10 ml/2 tsp paprika

400 g haricot (navy) beans, dried and rinsed (optionally you can use other type of bean)

about 600 ml fish stock

salt and ground black pepper, to taste

crusty bread, to serve

cod and bean stew

Preparation:

Preheat the grill (broiler) and line the pan with foil. Halve the red pepper and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves, cut side down, in the pan and cook under a hot grill for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the skin is charred.

Put the pepper into the plastic bag, seal and leave for 10 minutes to steam. Remove from the bag, peel off the skin and discard. Chop the pepper into a large pieces.

Heat the oil in the pan, then add the bacon and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the onion. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the paprika and pimentón, the saffron and its soaking water, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the beans and add just enough stock to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Stir in the chopped pepper and tomato quarters. Drop in the chunks of cod and bury them in the sauce.

Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped coriander. Serve in warmed soup plates or bowls, garnished with the chopped coriander. Eat with lots of crusty bread.