Portuguese Fish Stew

Cooking & Recipes


B. W. Amaral, M.D. Boscawen Historical Society, Boscawen, Ne

The contributor obtained this recipe from her husband’s grandmother, Ermelinda Amaral. She in turn got it from her mother, Anna Pacheco, who was a caterer in So Miguel, Azores. Anna was a widow who supported a family of twelve and eventually managed to send all of them to the United States – bringing the final three, including Ermelinda, to Martha’s Vineyard in 1889. The stew has an exotically sweet, spicy flavor. Serve it over rice, or add 2 cups of fish broth and present it as a soup with crusty rolls.


6 to 8 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 medium-size onions, finely chopped
2 to 3 pounds firm white fish, such as pollock or cod, cubed
1 cup peeled and deveined shrimp (optional)
1 cup scallops (optional)
1 cup chopped clams (optional)
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


In a large saucepan or nonreactive Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the fish and other seafood, if using. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for about 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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