...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Spud Sunday: Liquid Lunch

There I go, scribbling in last week's Sunday Times
on value-for-money lunching in Ireland
(the online version, sadly, lives behind the Sunday Times' paywall)

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.

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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.

Potato and fish stew

You’ll need:

  • 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

The Steps:

  • 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.

The Variations:

  • Omit the lovage if you like and try perhaps adding a few sprigs of fresh thyme when adding the tomatoes.

The Results:

  • Stew (or very thick, chunky soup) for 3-4


  1. Kavey

    Big yay on the ST slot! :D

  2. Daily Spud

    My thoughts exactly Kavey :)

  3. Kathryn Marsh

    Pity about the paywall – I usually get it since Jane Powers migrated there from the IT but never made it out of the garden this week. Are you allowed to say where you ate?

    This looks like a great soothing supper after a day of mostly horrendous weather and whoopee! all the ingredients are in the garden, the fridge or the freezer. Going to try adding a little saffron I think

    Hope the growing spuds survived the frost the other night – some of mine are pretty sad

  4. Daily Spud

    I know what you mean about the paywall – I don’t always remember to buy the paper myself! I did go to the Lennox Cafe in Portobello for part of the piece (and that’s where the main picture is taken) – but the rest involved talking to restaurant / cafe owners as opposed to getting to eat their food alas. I think saffron would be an excellent addition to the stew btw, and the spuds seem to be surviving thus far…

  5. brian@irelandfavorites

    I’m sure there would be nothing wrong with a stronger liquid lunch along with your liquid lunch, and a nice slice of bread.

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