Janie's easy fish stew or cheat's bouillabaisse

    1 hour 5 min

    This is a far less time consuming (honestly) and less expensive version of the famous bouillabaisse. I apologise to all traditionalists but sometimes needs must and I developed this recipe to replicate something I love to eat. It serves 2 very generously, or 3 to 4 regular portions when served with delicious fresh crusty bread.

    Cheshire, England, UK
    8 people made this

    Serves: 2 

    • To make the fish stock
    • 2 fish stock cubes
    • 725ml hot water
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
    • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 pinch saffron
    • parsley stalks, to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons salem oelek or harrissa paste
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 whole star anise
    • 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • ground black pepper, to taste
    • To make the fish stew
    • 3 medium ripe tomatoes - seeded and finely chopped
    • 2 handfuls salmon, white fish, smoked haddock
    • 4 to 5 small squid carapaces with tentacles
    • 1 pack raw king prawn tails - shelled and deveined
    • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
    • handful finely chopped flat leaf parsley
    • handful finely chopped basil
    • handful finely chopped coriander

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr5min 

      To make the fish stock:

    1. Add the fish stock cubes to the hot water to make up 725ml fish stock.
    2. Put olive oil into a large stock pot over a medium heat and add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until soft taking care not to burn the garlic.
    3. Add all of the other stock ingredients and with the lid on slowly bring to a gentle rolling boil for 20 minutes. Increase the heat and boil a little faster for a further 10 minutes taking care not to boil over.
    4. Strain the stock through a sieve into a bowl pushing as much of the liquid through as possible.
    5. Remove the bay leaves and star anise and then transfer the remaining pulp into a food blender and purée.
    6. Push this purée back through the sieve again into the rest of the base mixture and discard what won’t go through the sieve.
    7. To make the fish stew:

    8. Add the tomatoes to the stock along with the fish, bring quickly to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. It is best to use a timer for this step. After 1 minute, add the squid and prawns and bring quickly back to a simmer, and cook for 2 further minutes.
    9. After 1 minute, add the squid and prawns and bring quickly back to a simmer, and cook for 2 further minutes.
    10. Season to taste and serve sprinkling over the parsley, basil and coriander.


    The stock can be made the day before and stored in the fridge. You can add any of the shellfish/fish juices from the raw ingredients if there are any to this stock. If you are making the the stew the next day, allow to cool and then refrigerate after step 6. The next day just heat up the stock and continue with step 7.
    This recipe calls for 2 handfuls salmon, white fish, smoked haddock which is a loose measure and flexible so feel free to put less or more depending on taste. Or you can substitute with a similar fish mix or with shellfish such as scallops and mussels.

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