Portuguese Seafood Stew

Plump, tender mussels and flaky white fish simmer in a garlicky tomato broth in this New England favorite.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    45 minutes


By Brooke Dojny

Updated on December 6, 2023

Riffs on caldeirada, a fish stew beloved in Portugal, are perennially popular across seafood-loving New England. This hearty Portuguese seafood stew recipe is adapted from one in Brooke Dojny’s The New England Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, 1999), which tours the region in 350 dishes.

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  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, torn in half
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • One (16-oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained, crushed by hand
  • 1 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 18 mussels, washed and debearded
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless haddock or cod filets, cut into 1½-in. pieces


Step 1

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until easily pierced with a fork, 12–15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with half of the cilantro and half of the parsley and set aside.

Step 2

To a large pot set over medium-high heat, add the oil, chile flakes, garlic, onions, bay leaves, bell pepper, and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the pepper is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the fish stock and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and cook until the mussels just begin to open, 4–5 minutes. Add the fish and continue to cook, covered, until all the mussels are opened and the fish is cooked through, 4–5 minutes more.

Step 3

Transfer the stew to a large serving bowl, garnish with the remaining cilantro and parsley, and serve with the potatoes.

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