Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Creole Fish Stew

The lemony flavor complements the strong taste of mackerel, the ubiquitous "iced fish"of inland Africa; and enhances the flavor of milder white fish such as catfish. If you or your house help are adept at filleting fish, you can do that before cooking, but the tiny bones of whitefish make removing them from the cooked flesh much easier. Mackerel is easier to bone, but stronger in "fishy" smell which some don't like in the house, despite that it makes a tasty meal. Adapted from New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant.

3 Tbsp butter or oil
1 cup chopped onions
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1 tatase (mildly hot red pepper such as pimiento, optional), minced
3 celery stalks, or a handful of celery leaves, chopped
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped green beans

2 small zucchini chopped (opt.)
2 small green peppers, chopped
1 bay leaf
generous pinch of thyme
2 cups pureed fresh tomatoes
3 bouillon cubes (maggi)
3 cups water
3 whole whitefish (shawa), or 2 small mackerel (ice fish); about a kilo of fish
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat butter and saute the onions, garlic and tatase until translucent. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and zucchini (or green beans) and saute 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, thyme, tomato puree, maggi, and water and bring to a boil; simmer covered 20 minutes. Meanwhile, gut the fish and remove the heads and tails.

Stir the lemon juice into the stew. Lay the fish in the stew and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the fish to a plate and remove the bones (an easier task when the fish is cooked than when it is raw). Cut the fish into chunks and return to the stew. Season to taste.

Serve with fresh cornbread.

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