Serving
(click to enlarge)

Chilean Fish Stew
Chile
  -   Caldillo de Congrio
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
6 soup  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes

This fish soup was made famous by Pablo Neruda in his poetry. In Spain, the name of this dish would mean a light broth with European Eel, but in Chile it is a stew made with a sort of eel-like fish, the Congrio (Pink Cusk-Eel). This fish is not currently much available in North America, even here in Los Angeles, so we must substitute.


1-1/4
1
10
1-1/2
2
3
2
1
1/4
1/2
4
1
1
1/4
1/4
#
#
oz
#
cl
T


c
t
c
c
t
t
c
Cusk-Eel (1)
Potatoes (2)
Onions
Tomatoes (3)
Garlic
Lemon Juice
Lemon Peel strip
Bay Leaf
Cilantro
Oregano, dry
Fish Stock (4)
Wine, dry white  
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil, ExtV
Prep   -   (45 min)
  1. Prepare FISH as needed and cut into largish bite size chunks.
  2. Peel POTATOES and slice 1/4 inch thick. Leave whole if very small, or cut into pieces if larger (smaller pieces for buffet than for family dinner). Hold in cold water until needed.
  3. Scald TOMATOES (if used) 1 minute in boiling water. Quench in cold water, peel skins and and chop coarse. Quarter ONIONS lengthwise and slice thin crosswise. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix all.
  4. Squeeze LEMON JUICE.
  5. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off a few strips of LEMON PEEL (yellow only) about 1-1/2 inch long by 1/2 inch wide.
  6. Chop CILANTRO small. Mix with dried Oregano.
Assembly   -   (5 min - can be done a few hours ahead)
  1. In a heavy bottomed, tightly coverable pot of sufficient size (5 quarts for a whole recipe, 2-1/2 quarts for a half recipe) place a layer of Potato Slices, just enough to cover the bottom, then arrange the Fish over them.
  2. Mix the rest of the Potatoes into the Tomato mix along with Lemon Peel and Bay Leaf. Spread this mixture over the Fish.
  3. Mix together Stock, Wine, Salt and Pepper. Pour this mixture over the top.
  4. Sprinkle Cilantro mix evenly over everything, then drizzle on the Olive Oil.
Run   -   (25 minutes)
  1. Bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat, cover tightly and simmer slowly until the Potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.
  2. Check seasoning. Stir in Lemon Juice and take off the heat (see Note-5).
  3. Serve hot with Thai Jasmine Rice.
NOTES:
  1. Fish:   Weight is for fish pieces without heads, bones or scales. The correct fish is Congrio, the Pink Cusk-eel, (Congrio dorado) which is not available in North America. Some recipes say "Conger Eel", but this is in error, as there are no commercial conger eels off the coast of Chile. Use a light colored ocean fish that holds together well with wet cooking. Pink Ear Emperor or Monkfish should be excellent. The photo example was made with Japanese Amberjack (Hamachi), which is a little darker. For details see our Cusk-eels page and our Varieties of Fish page (very big page).
  2. Potatoes:   These are presumed to be very small - the pattern recipe calls for "new potatoes". Real new potatoes are all but impossible to find in North America. If you use larger potatoes, cut the slices into halves or quarters. In Chile they have hundreds of varieties of potato, but here in North America White Rose or Red Potatoes are good for this recipe. Avoid "Yukon Gold" type potatoes which become mush if cooked a little long (and they definitely don't use those in Chile). For details see our Potatoes page.
  3. Tomatoes:   It is up to the discretion of the cook if these are used or not. I consider them important, some do not.
  4. Fish Stock:   I start with whole fish and make stock from the heads, bones and fins, usually days ahead and freeze the fillets until needed. If you don't have fish stock you can substitute Clam Juice and Water in equal amounts.
  5. Lemon Juice:   The pattern recipe called for sprinkling the lemon juice over the fish after it is layered in the pan. The acid in the lemon juice will harden the outside surface of the potatoes (the tomatoes already harden them some), so I stir it in at the end of cooking. This is also better for the lemon flavor.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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