Happy Monday! I do not where you are in the world but here in the Kansas prairie it was definitely fall-like this weekend. With temperatures with lows in the 35F and highs on the 60s, it was time to bring out my stew recipes. For some reason I was reminscing about experiencing my first fall ever.
When I experienced my first fall and autumn away from Puerto Rico, it was when I moved to Heidelberg, Germany. Living there expanded my horizons and offered the opportunity to travel. That is an unforgettable time of my life but also one that I remember because I was so homesick. It was my first time away from my family and I was holding on to anything that would remind me of home. One of those ways was through food. Food has always had the ability to, through flavors, evoke memories. And so, I started adjusting dishes I was familiar with to fit more with something that was new to me: seasons.
In Puerto Rico we have two seasons: hot and super hot. But living in Germany I finally experienced what fall and winter were. And I decided that fall was-- and still is, my favorite season. And when the weather turns colder and crisp, I crave warm comfort foods in the form of stews. I am a stew fanatic. And one of my top five is a classic staple made by my abuela Ina: cod stew. She cooked it very straight forward on a base of tomato juice. It was good but I always felt it was lacking something. I have experimented with it through the years and I finally got it to where it has beautiful layers of flavors that are unexpected yet go so well together.
The key to the layers of flavor in this stew is the spices: fennel, saffron and pepper flakes. It all creates floral notes that are just beautiful when you sip on the broth. This ensures that the stew is not overly fishy in taste but rather it has a more mellow taste.
I tell you, this recipe is the perfect combination of both my families' ancestries. If there ever was a dish with Spanish and French influences, this one is.
Like every recipe I make I love that it is very simple to make. Truly is. Which makes the final product even more worth it. What you get is a tomato broth that is not acidic and has a beautiful color and delicious taste. It is not super rich even though it is a bit thick, but it is perfect for the delicate flavor of the cod. Make sure you get some crusty bread to go with it. Believe me when I tell you, you will want to mop off the broth. And here is an added bonus for those of us watching our weight: this is a super healthy and low calory alternative to the traditional stew. Your welcome! :) Enjoy!
SAFFRON & FENNEL COD STEW
1 pack of dried salted cod (you can use fresh if available)
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes (28 oz)
1/2 to 1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves sliced
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp saffron filaments
salt and pepper to taste
1. If using dried salted cod, you will have to soak the cod over night to remove the excess salt. Make sure you change the water at least twice. Once de-salted, cut into 1 inch pieces.
2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, add the olive oil until it is hot, then add the garlic. Stir for about 1 minute then add the rest of the spices (minus salt and pepper). Continue stirring for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the can of tomatoes and water. Using the spoon break down the tomatoes. Then let this sauce simmer for about 20 minutes until it thickens. Once it reaches the desired consistence, add the chunks of cod, stir gently, cover and let simmer for another 20 minutes. What you want is for the cod meat to be opaque and fleshy.
4. At this point taste for salt. Because of the cod, there should not be a need for salt, but if you feel it is needed, add at this point. Serve in a bowl accompanied by crusty bread and prepared to be delighted.
Homestead Barn Hop. Tuned-In Tuesday. Recipe Friday. Foodie Friday. Food-tastic Friday. Friday Favorites. Foodie Friday. Weekend Potluck. Aloha Friday Blog Hop. Full Plate Thursday. Fantastic Friday. Tuesdays At Our Home. Homemaking Link-Up. Wonderful Food Wednesday. Heart & Soul Blog Hop. Seasonal Sundays. Bewitch Me & Titi Link Party. Monday Link Up. Mouthwatering Monday. Creative Mondays. Meatless Monday. Show & Share @ Coastal Charm