Brazilian Fish Stew

These hot summer days and rainy nights have me craving something warm and comforting yet bright and refreshing, and this simplified version of a Brazilian fish stew, known as Moqueca, delivers all that and more! Onion, garlic and sweet peppers are sautéed until tender before crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and stock are added to create a flavorful broth. The rice cooks directly in the soup to absorb those wonderful flavors, and the fish is simply nestled into the stew at the very end to cook for a few minutes until it’s done. To me, the standout flavor is the fresh lemon juice, which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.

As exotic as it may sound, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. You’ll want to use a firm white fish. I’ve also used shrimp in this recipe and it was just as delicious! Andres went on a deep sea fishing trip over the weekend and stocked the freezer with king fish, cobia and snapper. (Score!) So this time around, I used two large cobia filets. I marinated the fish in fresh lime juice until it was time to add to the stew. With prep, the total time involved is less than an hour. This recipe is quick enough for weeknights, and special enough for Sunday dinner…either way, I think you’ll love it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs firm white fish, no skin, cut into 1″ cubes (halibut, cod, cobia, grouper or swordfish)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (from 150z. can)
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 1 150z. can coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, sauté onion, bell pepper & garlic in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice, red pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes and seafood stock to the pot.
  3. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until the rice is tender.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk.
  5. Add fish and gently mix into the soup.
  6. Simmer on low until the fish is cooked.
  7. Add fresh lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
  8. Serve with lemon slice and enjoy!

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