This classic Fish and Shrimp Stew is made with fresh cod, sweet shrimp, and the most amazing tomato and garlic broth. Serve it as stew with crusty bread, over pasta, with polenta, or on a bed of rice.
This quick and easy Fish and Shrimp Stew tastes better than your favorite restaurant version and works for almost any diet since it is low carb, gluten free, Whole30 and Paleo friendly.
I made this Fish and Shrimp Stew four times in the past two weeks and we couldn't love it more. It all started while I was visiting my parents over the holidays. It was a typical New England night - cold, snowy, and with teeth-chattering wind that feels like it goes right through you. Seriously, if you haven't experienced New England wind in the winter - it's bone numbing.
We all wanted something warm and comforting. Soup felt like the perfect meal but I was also really craving seafood since it's all I want to eat when I am in New England. This soup was the perfect solution - warm, spicy, and full of seafood flavor.
Now the secret to making this soup truly amazing is to make it one day in advance. The first time I made it we really enjoyed it that night, but the next day when we reached for some leftovers for lunch - we couldn't believe how good it was.
The flavors really have time to deepen and come together and it is just so delicious. So good that my Dad was eating it for breakfast daily. Served on its own, over pasta or rice, or with some nice crusty bread, it's one delicious meal.
What Goes in Fish and Shrimp Stew?
Depending on where you’re from, you may have never heard of fish and shrimp stew before. It’s one of those recipes that is most popular in coastal areas where there is lots of fresh fish available. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it for yourself wherever you are in the world!
To make it you need fish and shrimp. The fish I like best in this hearty stew is cod but any hearty white fish including haddock or pollock will work. You'll also need fish stock, clam juice, and tomato paste to make the base of the stew. Additionally, San Marzano tomatoes, onion, garlic, and butter are added to help deepen the rich flavor. For seasoning, you’ll want red pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
You’ll also need a tablespoon of olive oil to cook the onions and garlic in. And there you have it – everything you need to make a fish and shrimp stew!
How to Serve Fish and Shrimp Stew
If you like you can certainly eat your fish and shrimp stew on its own, but you can also have a bit of fun with it too!
- Over Pasta or Rice: Brown rice, cauliflower rice, noodles, or zoodles all of these make a wonderful bed for your stew to sit on.
- Crusty Bread: Get yourself a nice rustic crusty bread that you can cut into slices or tear into chunks and dip into your stew.
- Bread Bowl: Instead of cutting up your bread, hollow out the middle of it and pour your stew inside.
- Polenta: This is also delicious over some creamy polenta with Parmesan cheese on top.
Recipe Tips and Ideas
This is one of those recipes that you can really personalize and change once you start making it. In fact, in our family, we all have our own favorite versions. My brother likes to add fresh clams, squid, or scallops. My Mom adds extra chili flakes and cuts back on the garlic.
- Seafood: Although this version uses fish and shrimp, the options are endless when it comes to seafood. Add almost any type of fish, try other seafood like clams or mussels, throw in some scallops or crab. This tomato based seafood soup is versatile.
- Fresh herbs and spices: Play with the spices and herbs to switch up the flavors. Try it with cilantro, add extra basil, leave out the chili flakes, add extra garlic. Make the broth to your exact tastes and preferences.
- Vegetables: This soup is bare bones when it comes to veggies, but you can definitely add them. Try potatoes or sweet potatoes to make it more filling. Add fresh greens like spinach or kale. Add fresh corn for sweetness or some chopped zucchini. This soup can stand up to vegetables. Just make sure to add the vegetables before the fish so the fish doesn't overcook.
How to Pick Fresh Cod
If you’ve never shopped for fresh cod before, then you might think that you can just grab whatever you find.
A caution, however – not all cod is created equal. Start out by looking at the color, which should be a lovely white color. It should smell like ocean water and not smell fishy. Touch it gently with one finger both in the middle and along the edge. It shouldn’t be mushy and should instead be firm.
If it meets all of these requirements then you’ve got yourself a good piece of cod – grab it before someone else does!
How to Prepare Shrimp for Stew
If you buy fresh shrimp, there is a better than good chance you might want to do some cleaning up before they’re ready to eat.
I’m talking about deveining the shrimp.
This isn’t actually a step that is necessary – leaving the vein in won’t cause any harm to the people eating. It’s just a little bit unappetizing to look at when you know what it is. So, if you want to devein your shrimp the process is actually fairly simple.
First, remove the head if it's still attached. Then, if the shell is still on start at the end the head was on and pull off the shell. You can use the shells to make a stock, so save those.
Cut along the shrimp’s back then with the tip of your knife pull the vein out. Discard the vein and put the shrimp in a bowl of ice water until you’re ready to cook.
For easier prep, look for shrimp that has been shelled and deveined.
Can frozen fish and shrimp be used?
It can but it is best to defrost it first. Using frozen proteins in soups and stews usually results in them not cooking correctly. The outside cooks too fast and the inside doesn't cook enough. Whenever possible, defrost the seafood before adding it to the stew.
Is Fish and Shrimp Stew Low Carb?
In short, yes!
Fish and shrimp stew is low carb as well as being Whole 30 compliant and Paleo. There is just one adjustment needed for the recipe to be Whole 30 compliant, and that’s substituting ghee for the butter that the recipe calls for. I’ve put this in the recipe as well just in case this is something that applies to you.
How to Store
In most stew recipes I will heartily recommend you make extra to have for the following days, or even freeze it to have much later.
However, for this fish and shrimp stew, I’m actually going to recommend against freezing it Fish doesn’t hold up great in a stew when it's frozen and the shrimp can chewy when reheated.
Yes, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. It will taste even better the next day after a night for the flavors to deepen in the fridge.
Other Stew Recipes
Fish and Shrimp Stew
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, I use double that for a spicier soup)
- 2/3 cup parsley
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 28 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 8 oz. clam juice
- 14 oz. fish stock
- 2 tbsp butter (or ghee for Whole30)
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 lbs cod, sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1 lb. raw shrimp
Add the tomatoes, clam juice, and fish stock. Bring to a simmer and add the butter, oregano, and basil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. At this point, you want to taste the broth and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add salt and pepper. If needed, add extra tomato paste for more tomato flavor. You can add red pepper flakes for more heat or some extra tomatoes if it is too spicy.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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