Saffron Fennel Stew With Fish 6.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

One Pan Dec 29, 2016

Rich-tasting and winy, this is the dish for people who would like to eat more fish but don't necessarily like its flavor or aroma.

We tested this with several kinds of fish; firm, white-fleshed fish that has some thickness works best. Feel free to use frozen/defrosted fillets.

Serve with hunks of crusty bread, for dipping.

Make Ahead: The stew base (without the fish or saffron water) can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings; makes about 9 1/2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small chunks
  • 3 to 5 ribs celery, cut into small dice (1 cup)
  • 4 cups sliced or chopped fennel (cored; from 4 or 5 medium bulbs)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 1 3/4 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup Guinness stout
  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, plus their juices (1 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 cup strained tomatoes (Pomi brand) or tomato sauce
  • 1 pound small/marble-size unpeeled potatoes, such as Honey Gold (rinsed well; may substitute unpeeled fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1-inch rounds)
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 pound firm, white-fleshed skinless fish fillets, such as monkfish, cod or hake
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup packed finely chopped curly parsley, for serving


Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep-sided saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion, celery and fennel. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Stir in the coriander, cumin, salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine, stout, the tomatoes and their juices and the strained tomatoes or tomato sauce. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the liquid is bubbling, add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. The potatoes should be just tender.

(At this point, the mixture can be cooled, transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Crumble the saffron threads into a liquid measuring cup, then pour in the boiling water. Let steep for a few minutes. Cut the fish into bite-size chunks.

Uncover the pot; add the saffron water, then gently stir in the fish. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or just until the fish is opaque.

Stir in the honey; taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the parsley just before serving.

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Recipe Source

From deputy Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick; based on a Kosher Pastry Oven recipe.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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