Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca

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Brazilian-Fish-Stew_680px_4 (2) 23/04/2017

A traditional Brazilian dish of fish and bell peppers (capsicum) in a delicately flavoured coconut base broth, this stew really is quite unique.

I made this after being inspired by a visit to a Brazilian restaurant where they carved copious amounts of tender meat onto your plate quicker than you could eat it. I was in heaven. While the selection of meat was absolutely beautiful, what stood out for me most was the ‘salad bar’ that was on offer. There was a variety of Brazilian delicacies ranging from lentil salads, herb and garlic roast potatoes, black bean stew, rices, pastas, salsas, olives, garlic mushrooms, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things including moqueca. The spices were subtle but flavourful and the fish was welcome change from the heavy going grilled meats. I cooked up a batch for the family the day after and it was a total success.

This is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavour which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.

The broth is quite refreshing and not too rich, unlike many strong flavoured, rich coconut based curries. I made this just using fish but it is also made as a seafood stew with prawns and calamari.

Ingredients:

Fish:

  • 3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Broth:

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml fish or chicken broth

Finishes:

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. For the broth: Heat a large pan over a medium high and add 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1½ minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
  3. Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
  5. Add the salmon chunks, stir to coat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the salmon is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir through lime juice.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
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Baked Chorizo Dip

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chorizod 23/03/2017

My rubbish phone picture really doesn’t do this dish justice but for something I rustled up out of odds and ends in the fridge, it tastes and smells incredible! The rich, spicy sauce is perfect for dunking fresh garlicky bread into.

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooking chorizo, case removed and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil
  • Handful of spinach
  • Strong goats cheese
  • Garlic bread, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced chorizo. Cook the chorizo gently until it begins to release its oils. Flip the slices and continue to fry until beginning to brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. Discard most of the chorizo oil from the pan but keep a little to fry the garlic and peppers in until slightly softened. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, balsamic, seasoning and basil to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the spinach in the pan along with a dash of water and cover the pan so the spinach wilts.
  3. Return the chorizo to the pan and stir everything well to combine. Transfer to a little baking dish. Top with crumbled goats cheese.
  4. Place the dish on a baking tray long with some garlic bread and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the garlic bread is crispy.
  5. Remove from the oven and try to resist the temptation of shoving it in your mouth instantly. This will result in searing pain although it would be totally justified and expected once you smell how amazing this is!

This dish would work really well with any bread or even as a stir through sauce for pasta as the meaty juices would combine beautifully.

Chicken Paprika

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Screenshot_2016-06-27-20-06-14-1[1] 27/06/2016

A real hearty meal that uses one pan and tastes fantastic. I love cooking dinner in my casserole pan in the oven. All the flavours seem to concentrate and everything cooks evenly into a luxurious dish. This is no exception and incorporates smoky paprika with a sweet tomato and pepper sauce that coats tender chicken pieces.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbsp plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 red or green pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Brown rice and steamed greens to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Cut each chicken breast into 3 or pieces. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish over a medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces, seasoning in the process, then remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the pan and gently fry for 8-10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic for a further minute before adding the flour, paprika and cayenne. Stir well to soak up the pan juices then add the can of plum tomatoes. Stir to combine then add the stock and return the chicken to the pan. Stir everything and bring to a simmer. Add the peppers to the casserole then place the lid on and put in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through.
  4. Check the seasoning and add the parsley about 5 minutes before it is ready. Serve with brown rice and steamed greens such as broccoli, beans or asparagus for a wholesome, tasty meal.
  5. If using, add the sour cream to the casserole once you have removed it from the oven and swirl it through the sauce. I didn’t use it in the dish pictured as I didn’t have any but I have tried it in the recipe before and it adds a lovely richness.