Brian, one of my quotees in last week’s Sunday Times article (which you can glimpse above), is a great man for the ol’ liquid lunch (and yes, we are talking soup, as opposed to anything stronger). Soup, says he, is the bees knees when it comes to make-it-yourself lunches, and, of course, he’s not wrong. So, in an inspired move, I thought this week, that I might make some soup – for lunch, like – except that, by the time I was done, soup had become stew, and lunch had become dinner and such, as the fella says, is life. No matter. I scarfed it down anyway, and you might just do the same.
Potato, Fish And Tomato Stew
Call it soup, call it stew. Eat it for lunch or have it for dinner. It’s a simple, hearty dish and it doesn’t much matter what you call it or when you eat it.
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 small onion (approx. 100g), finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced (approx. 100g)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 medium-sized potatoes (approx. 400g), scrubbed and chopped into 0.5cm dice
- 1 tblsp tomato puree
- 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
- 500ml vegetable stock or water
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt (or less if stock is salty)
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 400g hake (or other white fish, such as haddock or cod), cut into approx. 1-2cm chunks
- 1-2 tblsp very finely chopped lovage
- 1-2 tblsp very finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp lemon juice or more to taste
- Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add vegetable oil to coat the pan. Add the onion, stir and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the sliced fennel and fry for another 6-7 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
- Add the diced potato, stir and fry for a minute or two, then add the tomato puree, stir briefly, and add the tinned tomatoes, stock or water, bay leaves and salt. Stir and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, stir to mix and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Add the fish chunks and simmer for another 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
- Add the chopped lovage, parsley, a couple of twists of black pepper and the lemon juice to taste. Stir in and serve at will.
- Omit the lovage if you like and try perhaps adding a few sprigs of fresh thyme when adding the tomatoes.
- Stew (or very thick, chunky soup) for 3-4