This Portuguese fish stew (caldeirada) is a delicious dish made with vegetables, fish and seafood in a richly flavored broth. It’s a simple stew full of Mediterranean flavors that’s just perfect with some rustic, crusty bread.
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Portuguese fish stew (caldeirada de peixe) is one of those simple dishes that are quite memorable thanks to its unique fragrant touches.
Inspired by the rustic stews cooked by fishermen in Portugal, this caldeirada recipe is light, easy to make and simply bursting with flavor.
The mix of saffron, white wine, cilantro and tomatoes makes the broth incredibly tempting, while the shrimp, fish and potatoes make the stew nutritious and hearty.
I made this caldeirada with a mix of white haddock and shrimp, but you can make it with any mix of seafood you like.
Mussels, clams, squid and any kind of white fish or even salmon are all traditionally used in this Portuguese fish stew.
Why you’ll love this Portuguese fish stew
- The perfect stew for any fish and seafood lover
- Very easy to make in one pot
- Light and tasty, just perfect with a chunk of rustic bread
What goes into this Portuguese seafood soup
Olive oil — Use the best quality olive oil you can in this stew because it really makes a difference.
Onion — Slice the onion or dice it small. Both yellow and red onions are great for this stew.
Red bell pepper — I like to make this stew with red bell pepper to make it more vibrant, but you can use whatever color you like.
Garlic — Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to suit your taste.
Cilantro — You’ll need to add cilantro stems to the soup and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves at the end.
White wine — It’s important to use a white wine you’d enjoy drinking for this stew. Dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are great choices.
If you don’t cook with wine, you can substitute it with more fish stock or clam juice.
Saffron — Saffron is a powerful ingredient, so you only need a pinch to add flavor to this fish stew.
Cherry tomatoes — I used canned cherry tomatoes with their juices, but ripe fresh cherry tomatoes are perfect here.
Potatoes — These are optional but highly recommended to add some bulkiness to the stew. Use your favorite type of boiling potatoes.
Seafood — Go with our favorite mix of seafood here. Both fresh and frozen fish and seafood work in caldeirada de peixe, but you may have to adjust cooking times if using frozen.
You can make caldeirada with just seafood — mussels, shrimp, crab, lobster and squid are all perfect here. For white fish, go with cod, haddock, tilapia or halibut.
How to make caldeirada de peixe
Stir in the garlic, red chili flakes and chopped cilantro stems and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the white wine, saffron and bay leaves and allow to bubble for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about a half.
Add the cherry tomatoes and break them down with your spoon, then stir in the potatoes and fish stock.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
Place the shrimp and fish on top of the stew and push gently, so they’re covered in liquid. Put the lid back on the pot and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and serve hot with your favorite rustic bread.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.
- Reheat the stew on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot.
- To freeze the fish stew, allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the fish. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw the stew overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Recipe notes and tips
- Serve this Portuguese fish stew with your favorite crusty bread to soak up all that delicious broth.
- If you don’t like cilantro, don’t add the chopped stems with the garlic and substitute the leaves with parsley for garnishing.
- Try not to stir the stew too much after adding the fish to prevent it from breaking down.
If you liked this Portuguese fish stew, you might also like some of my other easy seafood recipes:
- Easy Seafood Chicken Paella with Chorizo
- Carbonara di Mare
- Brazilian Prawn Coconut Stew (Moqueca de Camarao)
- Prawn Curry with Coconut Milk
- Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (coriander) stems, chopped
- 1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (14 oz / 400 g) cherry tomatoes
- 12 oz (350 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups (500 ml) fish stock
- ½ lb (225 g) large shrimp (or a seafood mix)
- 1 lb (450 g) white fish (haddock or cod)
- A handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven and saute the onion and red bell pepper for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until slightly softened.
- Stir in the garlic, red chili flakes and chopped cilantro stems and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the white wine, saffron and bay leaves and allow to bubble for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about a half.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and break them down with your spoon, then stir in the potatoes and fish stock.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Place the shrimp and fish on top of the stew and push gently so they’re covered in liquid. Put the lid back on the pot and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and serve hot with your favorite rustic bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 545mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 32g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.