Puchero de Pescado
Historically, peasant soups in Andalucía were cooked in an earthenware pot called a ‘puchero’ which has given its name to a number of modern-day dishes across Spain and Latin America. Probably the best known is the ‘puchero andaluz’ which is a filling stew made up of chicken, pork, vegetables and chickpeas. It is southern Spain’s version of the classic ‘cocido madrileño’ which is served as a soup starter followed by a main course known as a ‘pringá’.
Our ‘puchero de pescado’ recipe is more of a fish pie than a ‘cocido’ which is baked in the oven using a casserole dish or earthenware pot. It’s a fairly simple dish which combines fish, potatoes and a breadcrumb topping. It includes a fish stock and a tomato sauce, both of which can be prepared at home using the instructions which appear at the end of this book. To save time you might prefer to use shop-bought fish stock (these are sometimes very salty) and tinned tomatoes with a little tomato puree.
Serves 4 people
- 150ml olive oil
- 900g potatoes thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced
- 4 x 175g white fish fillets – use the white fish you prefer or is most available
- 300ml fresh Tomato Sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 150ml Fish Stock
- 4-5 handfuls of breadcrumbs
- 100ml dry white wine
- plain flour
If you are going to make your own tomato sauce and fish stock then that is what you should do first.
Perhaps the most important thing in this recipe is that the potatoes and the onions must be thinly sliced or they won’t cook through in the time that the fish takes to cook.
In a large frying pan heat the oil and add the potatoes for about a minute turning them over once so that they will absorb some of the olive oil flavour. Remove them and do the same with the onions.
Coat the fish with the flour and fry for about half a minute on each side.
Now get a large casserole dish and put the potatoes in the bottom of it, then put the onions on the next layer, next the tomato sauce, garlic and paprika with the fish fillets on top. Pour the fish stock over it, season with salt and pepper and scatter the breadcrumbs on top. If possible use fresh breadcrumbs but if necessary you can use shop bought ones.
Bake in a preheated oven 190ºC/375ºF (gas mark 5) for about 40 minutes. Half way through the cooking time take the casserole out of the oven and pour the white wine over it to moisten it. You can also pour a dash of Pernod over it if you have some available.
You can serve this dish with a salad or some vegetables and some crusty bread.