IIt’s very common to make a bean, chickpea or lentil stew at least once a week in Spain – we Spaniards love our pulses, and there’s nothing more comforting in the cooler months. cold. Fish recipes today are quite traditional, especially suquet, which is a real treat and the perfect type of dish for a special occasion. They’re much lighter and quicker than meat stews, but they’re still incredibly warming and great to scoop up with a spoon.
Bean and Clam Stew (pictured above)
Preperation 20 mins
to cook 1h20
1 kg of clams
1 fine sea salt, to clean the clams (see method)
75ml extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1 green pepper, stem, pith and seeds removed, flesh diced
1 red pepper, stem, pith and seeds removed, flesh diced
1 bay leaf
2 dried chillies, finely chopped
200ml white wine
1½-2 liters of shrimp broth (or shellfish or fish stock)
500g dry beans, soaked overnight in cold water
sea salt and black pepper
½ group chervil, chopped, or dill or tarragon
Check with your fishmonger to see if the clams have been cleaned, otherwise you’ll have to clean them yourself by putting them in a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of fine salt and soaking them for 40 minutes. Gently move the clams in the water every 10 minutes: the salt water causes them to expel the sand.
Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the garlic and onions, and sauté, stirring, for 10-12 minutes. Add the leek, fry, stirring, for five to six minutes, then add the peppers, bay leaf and dried chillies, and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until really tender and sweet but not colorful. Pour in the wine, cook until the liquid has evaporated, then add the broth and the drained beans. Cover the pan halfway with a lid and cook very gently for about 45 minutes, until the beans have absorbed the broth well and are tender; if at this stage the beans are still a little hard, add water and continue cooking until they are tender.
When the beans are cooked, season the mixture, then drain the clams and add them to the pot. Half-cover the pan again and cook the clams over medium heat for three or four minutes, until they open (discard any that don’t open). Stir in the chervil, then taste and adjust the seasoning and serve with plenty of bread to soak up the sauce.
Suquet (fish and potato stew)
Preperation 20 mins
to cook 1 hour
For the stew
25ml good extra virgin olive oil (I use arbequina), plus extra for the picada and for toasting the bread
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
100g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 100 g canned tomatoes, drained and chopped)
1 generous pinch Saffron
2 teaspoons sweet pepper
125ml dry white wine
100 ml of Spanish cognac
100ml manzanilla or fino sherry
150g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1.7 liters of good quality fish stock
200g cod fillet, cut into 2 cm pieces
200g of monkfish net, cut into 2 cm pieces
200g gurnard fillet, cut into 2cm pieces
Sea salt and black pepper
3 slices of good white bread, halved, to serve
For the snack
1 small bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus 1 additional clove, peeled and halved, to finish
50g whole Hazelnut, blanched and lightly toasted
50g whole almonds, blanched and lightly toasted
First make the picada. In a mortar, crush the parsley, garlic and walnuts with a drizzle of olive oil until a coarse paste is obtained, then set aside.
Now start the stew. Pour the oil into a large saucepan over medium heat and, once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes more, until the mixture reduces to a paste. Add the saffron, pimentón and picada, cook and stir for one minute, then add the wine, brandy, sherry and pastis, and cook until all the liquid evaporates.
Add the potatoes, stir for a minute, then add the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the minced fish, half cover the pan and cook for five to seven minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, sauté the bread slices in a drizzle of olive oil until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan, rub one side of the toasted bread with the halved garlic and serve with the hot stew.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho is chef/co-owner of Sabor, London W1