Slow Cooker Recipe: Italian Fish Stew

Miss Thrifty9 April 15, 2012

Hey, you know those squared-off packets of white fish you find in the supermarket freezer aisle? They look like this:

frozen fish

I’ve seen cod, haddock and coley packaged like this in Morrisons and Sainsburys. At around £3.00 for 500g, these packets of fish are generally half the price of their fresh equivalents. The downside: as rectangular “fish portions”, they don’t look quite right served as a dish in their own right. So what do you do with them?

I keep a regular stock of these packets in the freezer, and turn them into Italian Fish Stew. It’s a great recipe, requiring little prep. I tend to rustle it up when the fridge and cupboards are beginning to look bare at the end of the month: if you have fish in the freezer and a tin of tomatoes on hand, you’re away. Although it’s a stew and it’s great in winter, it is also light enough for the summer months. And of course, it’s tasty and super-cheap – especially for a fish dish!

I make this dish in the slow cooker, and am featuring it here following a reader request. This Italian Fish Stew based, albeit VERY roughly, on a recipe called Sardinian Fish Stew, included in Truly Madly Pasta by Ursula Ferrigno. My recipe isn’t particularly Italian; the name is a nod to the original. Also, let’s face it, “Fish Stew” on its own doesn’t sound half as appetising, does it?

P.S. If you are skint and your local supermarket doesn’t stock the frozen packets as detailed above, it’s also a good recipe for those £2.00 packets of unidentified “white fish” that frequent the freezer aisles.

Italian Fish Stew
Serves 4-6

1 onion

3-4 garlic cloves

1/2 small red chilli

Handful of parsley

1 tin of tomatoes

1kg- 1 1/2kg fish. There are no hard and fast rules, so use whatever you have to hand. I tend to use a couple of packets of white fish, as above, along with a frozen fillet of salmon and, if I have it, some oily fish too. (I keep sardines in the freezer; mackerel is also cheap.)

A couple of handfuls of pasta. The original recipe specifies soup pasta, but I can never be bothered to buy any. We usually have the remnants of a packet in the pasta – almost one serving but not quite – so I smash it up a little with the end of a rolling pin and chuck it in.

Olive oil

Slosh of white wine (optional)

Bread, to serve.

1. Chop the onion. Add to slow cooker.

slow cooker stew
2. Chop this lot. Add the garlic, chilli and half the parsley to the slow cooker, with a tablespoon of olive oil.

tinned tomatoes
3. Add the tomatoes. (I have a named brand here because it was on special at Morrisons, but budget-brand tomatoes will do just as well.) Fill the empty tin with water, and add that too. Keep the tin…

4. Add the slosh of white wine, if you have some, and leave the broth to cook. I generally leave it for three hours on the high setting, or five hours on the low setting.

5. An hour before you are ready to serve, add the smashed-up pasta, the fish and half a tin of water.

italian fish stew

6. Serving time: season to taste, sprinkle with the rest of the parsley, and serve with fresh bread. Yum!

If you have other tricks, tips or recipes to get the most out of those frozen fish portions, do let me know…

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9 Responses to “Slow Cooker Recipe: Italian Fish Stew

kate says:

that is a truly great recipe Karyn. I am always looking for recipes for my slow cooker. Will give it a bash. Lovexx

April 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Karla Grant says:

Sounds yummy – I often buy cheap bags of pollock fillets from LIDL – might have to try this one with some of that! Thanks!!!!

April 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@kate – Thanks Kate! You can’t really go wrong with it…

@Karla – Pollock and coley are the same fish, so should work absolutely fine with this dish.

April 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

susan bland says:

do you have to defrost the fish before putting it in the crock pot

September 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@susan – I generally do, if I can. Fish defrosts quickly, so I take it out of the freezer a couple of hours before I pop it in the pot or, if I’m out at work that day, I stick it in the fridge. BUT you don’t have to, in my exp. You can also put into the pot frozen, an hour before you are due to serve up if you are making a fish stew. I’ve done that with the blocks of frozen fish from the supermarket.

September 20, 2012 at 12:49 am

Stuart Jones says:

Wow!!!! absolutely beautiful recipe!!!I used just fresh salmon and raw king prawn as couldn’t get to somewhere for frozen white fish…. what an amazing dish!!! myself and two friends cleaned the bowl!! Thanks 🙂

June 16, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Paul says:

Delicious, Miss Thrifty! I used frozen Tesco value fish plus a few prawns and extra chilli. Thanks! Paul

February 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm

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