Take the chill out

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When you think about a stew, it’s often those slow, simmered concoctions that are time-consuming to prep and take several hours to cook.


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It’s all good provided you have lots of time on a weekend. But if you change your primary stew ingredients to seafood, the prep and cooking time is a fraction of a traditional stew.

Now that we’re into winter weather, my stew pot is getting lots of use. and when it gets bitterly cold, I like to include ingredients that pack a bit of heat.

The following Thai-style seafood stew gets a good kick from a chili pepper called bird chili.

Other typical thai ingredients that give this stew loads of flavour include kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and fish sauce.

All these ingredients can be purchased at specialty Asian stores and some of the larger grocery stores.

You can sometimes find an ingredient kit for thai soups that include the kaffir, chili and lemongrass prepackaged in the produce department.

The beauty of doing a seafood stew is it cooks quickly, even if your seafood is frozen.

You can easily thaw it in water so you can get it put together without much wait time.

I always keep cod on hand for this purpose, as well as frozen, deveined shrimp.

Any firm white fish will do in this recipe. This warming stew will definitely take the chill out of winter.

Editor’s note: Back by popular demand, the Londoner is reprinting a selection of Jill Wilcox’s recipes. This one was originally published Nov. 17, 2018. Enjoy!


Serves: 8
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1lemongrass stalk cut in half
1 28 oz. (796 ml) can diced tomatoes
4 cups (1L) water
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 bird chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) diced potatoes
1 lb. (500 g) cod, cut into 2-inch cubes
½ lb. (250 g) shrimp
fish sauce to taste
cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in soup pot over medium high heat.
Add onion and cook until soft.
Stir in lemongrass stalk, tomatoes, water, kaffir leaves, chili and potatoes. Bring to simmer and cook until potatoes tender.
Remove lemongrass and kaffir and discard.
Add fish and shrimp and gently simmer until shrimp are cooked through and fish is starting to flake.
Season with fish sauce to taste a tsp. at a time.
Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

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