This stew is adapted from one of my most beloved cookbooks, “More-with-Less”. I’ve wanted to shared it for a long time. My grocery list and pantry supplies almost always include these ingredients so I find it’s one of those simple staple soups that can also be relied on to thoroughly please my husband. After a meal of roasted chicken the night before, a few carrots, celery, and onion pieces added to the carcass simmered into an economical, golden elixir that forms the base of any sublime soup. I knew this would be my first choice.
I certainly can’t vouch for the authenticity of this recipe, especially since San Francisco is a fresh seafood mecca and I have altered some ingredients and amounts from the recipe from the book. But I can tell you there is an addicting acidity to the tomato-rich broth, that the fish remains mild and tender, that homemade broth turns the nutritional ante way up, and the slices of pepper and mushrooms are just the perfect vegetable additions to this light soup.
*Since I am eating Trim Healthy Mama style, this soup is extra versatile since it can work as an “S” meal by drizzling on extra olive oil at the end and eating with a dressing-laced salad or creamy dessert. You can eat this with a serving of brown rice, quinoa, real sourdough, or even a luscious piece of fruit to make this a complete “E”meal. I enjoyed my bowl, tonight, piping hot, with just an extra shot of lemon squeezed in at the end. My children eat theirs with basmati rice, lemon, and a stream of olive oil!
1 tbs. olive oil or butter
1 med-large onion
1/2 green pepper
2 large cloves garlic
2-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used 2 cups of chicken stock for this example but sometimes I just prefer my “stew” brothier)
1/2 lb. mushrooms
2-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1- 1 1/4 tsp. salt (use less salt if using smaller amount of chicken broth and even less if using canned broth!)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. honey, optional ( I don’t find this necessary, but if lots of acidity isn’t your thing, use honey to create more balance.)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbs. fresh oregano or marjoram (marjoram is oregano, sweeter, milder relative)
1 1/2- 2 lbs. white fish, thawed (I used affordable frozen–but still wild-caught–haddock. Feel free to remove any skin but note that this is MUCH easier to do if the fish is still frozen. )
1. Dice onions and pepper. Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Pour oil into a medium-sized pot over med-high heat and add onion, pepper, and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes or until slightly softened.
2. Slice mushrooms and add to pot along with bay leaves, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, marjoram or oregano, and optional honey. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one-half into the pot.
4. Gently add fish pieces to the pot and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serve hot with lemon wedges.