Here’s a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread! Video.

Here's a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread!

This rustic fish stew hails from Portugal, called Caldeirada, is light and flavorful and infused with saffron. Today I’ve used a mix of salmon and wild cod,  but in the past, I’ve thrown in mussels and shrimp.  It’s a nice way to use what you have. New potatoes give the soup a little body. Serve it on its own or with crusty bread to mop up the flavorful saffron broth.

The best part? This Portuese Fish Stew comes together in under 30 minutes! A delicious dinner in no time flat.

Portuguese Fish Sew | Video

Ingredients in Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

It starts with sauteing the onion and garlic until golden and fragrant.  Add the diced tomatoes and cook until they soften and begin losing their shape.

how to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Add a generous pinch of saffron, crumbling it a little in your fingers.

add saffron to How to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Add the stock, bay leaves, salt, spices and potatoes. to keep this lower carb- feel free to sub cauliflower. Not traditional, but it works!

How to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Bring the potatoes to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

How to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Then add the fish and thyme.

The best firm fish for soups or stews: 

You generally want to use firm white fish for most stews and soups, because they will hold their shape and not disintegrate in the liquid. Here are 10 the best fish (and seafood) to use in soups and stews.

  1. sea bass
  2. halibut
  3. black cod
  4. haddock
  5. escolar
  6. ono
  7. red snapper
  8. salmon
  9. scallops
  10. shrimp

How to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Simmer gently until the fish is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Try not to stir too much, but rather gently ladle the saffron broth over top.

How to make Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada)

Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro, a squeeze of lemon, and if you like spice- some chili flakes.

Here's a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread!

Dish up the Portuguese Fish Stew and serve with crusty bread or rice if you want.

Here's a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread!

I hope you enjoy the stew!

More fish stew recipes you may like:

xoxo

Sylvia

 

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Here's a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread!

Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Fish, Stew
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Portuguese
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s a simple recipe for Portuguese Fish Stew (aka Caldeirada) that can be made with fish or shellfish in a fragrant yet simple, saffron broth, studded with potatoes. Rustic and light, this summer stew can be made in just 30 minutes! Serve with Rice or Crusty Bread!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or fish stock, or use half clam juice)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce ( skip if using fish stock/clam juice)
  • large pinch saffron, crumbled
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove (or allspice)- optional see notes
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 tablespoons fresh thyme (lemon thyme is nice)
  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (yukon, baby red or white) thin skins ok -but peel russets. Or sub cauliflower for a lower carb version.
  • ——-
  • 1.5 lbs fish fillets- (boneless, skinless) wild cod, haddock, sea bass, salmon (or feel free to mix in or substitute shellfish- clams, mussels, shrimp, etc.) cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Garnish: Lemon wedges, fresh Italian parsley or cilantro, Crusty Bread, chili flakes


Instructions

In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic, stirring until softened, fragrant and golden, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices. Cook until tomatoes soften, about 4 minutes.

Add the white wine, and simmer until most has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.

Add stock, fish sauce ( if using chicken broth), saffron, a pinch of ground clove or allspice, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, bay leaves and fresh thyme.  Add potatoes and bring to boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.

Add fish, bring to a simmer over medium heat, give a gentle stir ( don’t over stir or fish will break apart) and cook fish until it is just cooked through about 3-4 minutes. Turn heat off.

Taste broth. Adjust salt, adding more if necessary.

Garnish with fresh torn Italian parsley leaves, lemon wedges, chili flakes and crusty bread.


Notes

Traditional Portuguese Fish Stew varies from village to village and is typically made with the day’s catch, or the addition of shellfish, or a combo of two types of fish, one oily and one not.  Some varieties include cured chorizo that has been browned which add depth and smokiness (it doesn’t take much).

Feel free to sub fish stock.

The pinch of cloves or allspice is optional – you’ll see these in some Caldeirada recipes but not all. If in doubt leave out. I really liked the allspice– up to you. 😉

Not all saffron is the same. Generally the darker the color, the more flavor. If you are craving the saffron flavor, keep in mind the smoked paprika will mute that somewhat.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 447
  • Sugar: 6.7 g
  • Sodium: 305.6 mg
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.2 g
  • Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 41.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 86.7 mg

Keywords: Portuguese Fish Stew, Caldeirada, Caldeirada Recipe, Fish Stew with saffron, Fish stew with potatoes

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. Totally delicious! I added a bit of Chorizo and mussels, as suggested and it works out so well! Love this recipe…. ticks all the boxes 😉

  2. Hi.That fish stew looks very nice,but i will like to know,if i don’t put Saffron in it
    how much of a different will it taste?
    Best Regards
    Dennis

    1. Hi Dennis, saffron is subtle here, but really elevates. I think the stew would be good without, but the saffron just adds. 🙂

    1. What can said about Portugal a rich culture in history.And also in cooking with style and being creative especially fish as cod soups. With that you savor the taste through your sweet mouth.. During those cold winters. I hope to visit your country again soon.

  3. Best recipe I’ve found yet! Most like the fish soup my Mother used to make, she was from the island of Sao Jorge.
    I look forward to trying more of Sylvia’s recipes in the near future! Thank you & Bon Apetit!

  4. This is a great recipe, so easy and its delicious! it’s in my rotation and I usually throw in a extra vegetable- I’m lazy with sides and it cooks in the tasty sauce in a snap. the crusty bread side is a good call- don’t waste that sauce.