Provincial Fish Stew

Provincial Fish Stew

Once of my favorite restaurant dishes to order is bouillabaisse, because it’s light, filling, and it’s really hard to make at home (so many ingredients, etc).  This is my Americanized, simplified version of a European fisherman stew.  You can make the whole thing in about one hour, and you don’t need saffron or a bunch of different types of fish. 

I made this with frozen flounder, but any whitefish will do, or you could even use shrimp or salmon.  I didn’t even let the flounder defrost all the way before cutting it, and it’s actually easier that way.  Same goes for slicing beef or chicken –if it’s still almost frozen, it’s much easier to cut up.  You can use your favorite white wine for this because that’s what I did.  I love Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s what I always drink and use for cooking if I can.  And Seaglass is my favorite brand –I like every wine of theirs I’ve tried, but especially the Sauv Blanc. 

Another thing you could do with this soup is add 1-2 cups of small diced potatoes at the beginning with the carrots and onion to make this soup more substantial.  Just remember to add plenty of cooking time while sautéing (about 10 extra minutes) and extra time when simmering (about 15 minutes).  But use your best judgment.  I eat this soup plain, but it would go great with some crusty bread and parmesan cheese if you wanted to make it special. 

Total Time:  1 hour and 15 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty Level:  Easy


Olive oil

1 onion, peeled and small diced

2 carrots, peeled and small diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 bottle dry white wine (like Sauv Blanc)

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

3 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper

1 pound whitefish filets

Juice of 2 lemons

Fresh chopped parsley


  1. Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion, and sauté until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, basil, and thyme. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic and dried herbs.
  3. Add the bottle of white wine, and bring everything up to a boil for 5 minutes, then down to medium heat for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Bring it up to a boil for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium low. Cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
  6. While the soup cooks, cut the fish into 1 inch pieces. Keep refrigerated until it’s time to add them to the soup.
  7. After 45 minutes, taste, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the fish to the soup, and stir in gently. Don’t let the soup come back up to a boil.  Cook over medium low for another 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
  8. Right before serving, squeeze in the juice from the lemons, and add the chopped parsley.

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