Portuguese Fish Stew

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.


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.

Cooking & Recipes


6 to 8 servings


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

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