December 20, 2011

Rice and Fish Stew

The temperature has been fluctuating like a yo-yo this past week and I’ve gone from wearing my fall jacket (well into December – unheard of in Ottawa) to bundling up in my warm winter jacket. I still haven’t pulled out my big down coat; it’s not cold enough yet. It’s the kind of weather where one needs something warm and hearty; the kind of food that sticks to your bones. I’m almost through my stack of Style at Home recipes that I wanted to make my way through this year. The stack seemed to grow as time went on. I’m pleased to say that it’s near the end of the year and the stack is almost gone, although other recipes have replaced the magazines.

One recipe that was just sitting there waiting for the right weather was a pearl couscous in red snapper stew. Of course, couscous is not celiac friendly so I changed it to rice; actually I made a few changes. The original recipe in Style at Home (March 2008) is courtesy of Massimo Capra, owner and chef at Mistura in Toronto and of CityLine fame, who had written ‘One Pot Italian Cooking. I must admit that I was still hesitant to try it after his squash and rice soup turned out to be a really mushy risotto. Maybe I’ll blame it on the adaptation by the magazine.

The changes I made were the obvious couscous, using cooked rice instead (quinoa would be awesome too); using tilapia instead of the red snapper (I was nowhere near a fishmonger that day), and using fresh parsley instead of oregano (my grocery store was out). I also accidently used the juice of a whole small lemon, but loved the result as the lemon made the dish pop. The final result was a dish full of flavour and warming on the inside. Next time, I’ll add more fish instead of the 12oz called for, and maybe try something less tender – halibut may not break up so easily.

Perfect for bone-chilling weather.

Rice and Fish Stew   (serves 4)    (Style at Home March 2008)
12 oz fish
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ cup white wine
2 cups each tomato juice and water
1 cup cooked rice
Salt and pepper
1 small bunch fresh oregano or parsley, finely chopped
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 hot chili pepper, chopped
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add fish and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Pour in wine and simmer until liquid had evaporated. Pour in tomato juice and water and simmer for a few minutes. Add rice and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add oregano, lemon rind, lemon juice, and chili pepper. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir to break up the fish into serve-able pieces.


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