Fish stew is what I crave when I want something light but still hearty and because it’s fish, it doesn’t take very long to cook. I believe this is a very easy fish stew recipe with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. With the exception of the lobster juice (we’ll talk more about that later) I’m sure these are ingredients that we have all used in other soups and stews recipes. What I love about stews is that you build flavor at every step which means that the flavor in this stew is deep with various levels of savory flavor and spices.
I really wanted to add some heat to this stew so while building the flavors, I added in some crushed red pepper along with smoked paprika. You can add more or less of the red pepper. If you want some deeper heat, cayenne pepper would be great here too. For the broth, I used chicken broth and lobster juice but you can absolutely use seafood stock if you would like.
Lobster juice is made from steaming whole shellfish and its seasoned with sea salt. It adds the right about of seafood/fish flavor and enhances the stew. You can usually find this in any grocery store in the broth/stock isle.
As for the fish, I chose catfish because that’s what I had in my freezer. Truly any meaty white fish will taste great in the stew. Monkfish is another great fish to use because of it’s sweet lobster-like texture. I imagine shrimp and even crab would be delicious add-ins as well.
I forgot to mention the veggies! My decision to use carrots and potatoes was also greatly inspired by what I had in my refrigerator however, I l love the taste and texture of roasted veggies in soups and stews. The carrots offer a sweetness that you won’t taste if you cook them in the stew without pre-roasting.
How to make this Easy Fish Stew Recipe
Preheat the oven to 400° and slice the potatoes and carrots into 2 inch pieces then coat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and you can season with a little salt and smoked paprika. Roast them in the oven until tender but not mushy as they will continue to cook later in the stew. This took about 20 minutes.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the diced the onion and peppers to the pot. Sauté until tender and fragrant then add in the garlic and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the roasted carrots and potatoes then melt in the cold butter, add in the tomato paste, and stir until mixed well. Add in the crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, creole seasoning, and brown sugar and stir well.
Pour in the chicken broth, lobster juice, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and whole scotch bonnet pepper. Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. If you are unable to find lobster juice, you can use seafood stock instead of the chicken broth.
Season the fish with salt and pepper then add in the fish and cook until the fish is flaky. Finish the stew with the lemon juice and serve warm. Garnish with parsley and enjoy with toasted French bread. Be sure to remove the bay leaf and scotch bonnet pepper before serving.