I was "fishing around" for a traditional bouillabaisse recipe when I came across this one for Moqueca, or, Brazilian Fish Stew. It looked very interesting so when Janet and I shopped in an Asian market I found the more esoteric ingredients and now I am about to make this stew for the first time.
Simply Recipes® was the Internet source for this recipe and I have modified it only to the extent I use chicken broth when I prepare rice, not water. Otherwise the recipe is identical to the original.
I am really interested in finding out just how good this stew is because it looks really good. I will report back with my results.
Ingredients: (6 to 8 servings)
For the stew:
2 lbs. boneless skinless fish fillets (halibut, swordfish, cod or haddock)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
4 tbsp. Olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
¼ cup chopped scallion (green parts included)
½ yellow sweet pepper, sliced
½ red sweet pepper, sliced
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. paprika
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (set some aside for later garnish)
1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
1 tbsp. palm oil
For the rice:
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup Uncooked rice
2 cups Chicken broth
1 tsp. Sea salt
Cut the fish into serving size pieces (6 or 8). Put them into a bowl and add the minced garlic and the lime juice so that all pieces are well coated. Sprinkle the fish generously with salt and pepper. Keep the fish chilled while preparing the rest of the stew.
Make the rice portion. Bring two cups of chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan. In a second saucepan heat one tbsp. of olive oil. Add the chopped ½ onion, stirring until the onion is translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the raw white rice and stir to coat it completely with the oil, onions and garlic. Add the hot chicken broth and one teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover the saucepan and allow the rice to cook for 22 minutes (some brands of dry rice have been parboiled and require only 15 minutes of simmering, so check which one you have first). Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside, covered.
Now to the stew. Coat the bottom of a Dutch Oven with 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat it on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook a few minutes until the onion is softened. Add the bell pepper slices, paprika and the red pepper flakes. Sprinkle the mixture generously with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes longer until the bell peppers begin to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the scallion pieces. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
Use a large spoon to remove about half of the vegetables. Spread the remaining vegetables over the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the fish. Arrange the fish pieces on the vegetables. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Then add back the previously removed vegetables, covering the fish. Pour the coconut milk over the fish and the vegetables. Put small dots of the thick palm oil over the surface evenly.
Bring the stew to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover the Dutch Oven and let the food simmer for 15 minutes. Taste it and adjust the seasonings. Garnish the stew with cilantro.
Serve the stew with the rice or with crusty bread.