Moroccan Fish Stew with Fennel and Chickpeas

I don’t know how to put this nicely so I’m just going to write what I’m thinking.

Mother Nature, for the love of all New Englanders, what the fvck is up with you? Why have you been dumping your bitterly icy attitude on us like it’s been that time of month for two months straight? Maybe you think this is some kind of sick game, but honestly, the constant challenge of “where the heck do I put all this white stuff” has become rather belittling. Give it up already.

Whew. Now that I got that out…

I really, really, really want to go somewhere warm. It’s all I’ve been thinking about for several days straight. And I don’t mean somewhere just a little warmer than here. I want HOT. Nothing like a little sunshine to beat these winter blues, right? (I actually wouldn’t know since I can’t remember the last tropical vacation I took in the dead of winter. So I’m just guessing.) Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere because I’m too darn scared to book a flight. The way things are going, it’s highly likely that flight would get canceled anyway.

But get a clue, Mother Nature. Though it’s much easier to just stay in a pissy mood, a little extra effort to think positively always pays off. So since I’m stuck here, I’m going to focus on what I do like about cold, snowy nights. Warm, hearty soups and stews. They don’t have these in the tropics, right? Take that, hot climates!

This is not your typical heavy winter stew, but it fills the belly and soothes the soul nonetheless. It’s full of all things seafood, which is a nice alternative to meaty stews (and my preference, anyway.) Chickpeas add extra heartiness, and fresh fennel brings an unexpected but complimentary flavor. It’s fiery spice will warm you to the core, but a squeeze of lemon and a smattering of cilantro keep it bright and fresh at the same time.

I may be buried beneath 6 feet of snow (if you count the drifts) but at least I have dinner to look forward to.



Moroccan Fish Stew with Fennel and Chickpeas
Adapted from Dinners and Dreams
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned if tomatoes are out of season)
3/4 cup water
1 small fennel bulb, sliced thinly (about 6oz sliced)
3/4 cup drained, rinsed chickpeas (about 1/2 of a 15oz can)
1 mahi filet, about 5 oz, cut in half
10 large mussels, scrubbed and debearded
4 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons lemon juice
chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep saute pan. Cook the garlic and crushed red pepper for about 1 minute, until light golden and fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute more.

Add the crushed tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Add the mahi, fennel and chickpeas, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the mussels and shrimp, return the cover, and cook for about 3 more minutes, until the mussels have opened and the shrimp are just opaque.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 475.5
Total Fat: 12.9 g
Cholesterol: 215.0 mg
Sodium: 1,052.2 mg
Total Carbs: 34.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.5 g
Protein: 57.4 g

This recipe is also being featured in the HomeAway.co.uk Travel Cookbook.

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43 Responses to “Moroccan Fish Stew with Fennel and Chickpeas”

  1. 1

    Dawn Hutchins — January 28, 2011 @ 1:53 pm Reply

    Your photos look gorgeous! And this looks so wonderful. I feel for you being in the cold…..New England winters are SO long and SO hard. My poor Dad was from San Diego and my mom had moved out there temporarily, met my dad, they got married and moved back to NE where my mom grew up. Needless to say he was miserable every winter. When they finally moved down here after me, my dad was so happy. I think mom still misses her friends but my dad didn’t look back! I have yet to try making mussels myself but every time I see them they look so delicious. I really would love to try this….I will have to see if they have any at our local fisherman’s dock.

  2. 2

    Cara — January 28, 2011 @ 2:06 pm Reply

    thanks Dawn! I think I'd like to move not only for better weather, but just to have a local fisherman's dock… what a concept!

  3. 3

    Tasha — January 28, 2011 @ 2:38 pm Reply

    My husband is from MA, and as much as we love to visit NE in the summers, there is a reason we live in FL. I'm a complete wuss when it's cold. I'd be ranting at Mother Nature too if I were you, only I'd be way more whiney about it!As for this soup- mussels, mahi, shrimp AND chickpeas…seriously, you could've designed this recipe specifically for my husband. Everything he loves! It looks wonderful!

  4. 4

    Emily — January 28, 2011 @ 3:54 pm Reply

    I am sooo craving island-esque meals as well (and just finished a post on coconut shrimp for next week!). This soup looks fantastic and would definitely lift my blah winter spirits. I wonder how it would taste with some coconut milk in there!

  5. 5

    Cara — January 28, 2011 @ 3:55 pm Reply

    Coconut milk?! Why didn't I think of that? It would be a fantastic addition!

  6. 6

    Debi (Table Talk) — January 28, 2011 @ 4:21 pm Reply

    Cara, this sounds so perfect right now. Shellfish is so aromatic…just thinking about the sea makes me think of warmer weather! Love this one–

  7. 7

    Shanon — January 28, 2011 @ 4:21 pm Reply

    i LOVE a fish stew! the broth is what does it for me. and these flavors are so clean!!!

  8. 8

    janet — January 28, 2011 @ 4:56 pm Reply

    Yum! I have shrimp allergies, so I'd probably sub more fish for them, but then the dish wouldn't look nearly as pretty! No need to hesitate when travelling! Just do it! :) (I preferred Turkey to Morocco, though…)

  9. 9

    Barbara — January 29, 2011 @ 2:00 pm Reply

    Great stew! I adore fennel too.It's cold here too….not anything like the rest of the country, but cold for us. And we aren't insulated well so it seeps in around doors and windows. Spring will soon be here….I hope!

  10. 10

    Home with Mandy — January 29, 2011 @ 2:13 pm Reply

    I am with you all the way….until you get to the mussels. Then there is dead silence. My eyes can't read past "scrubbed and debearded." I want so desperately to be adventurous but I am honestly so freaked out about mussels. The picture is great, and all the other ingredients sound like they are delish. Maybe one day I will get the courage and jump in there with the bearded mussels.

  11. 11

    Cara — January 29, 2011 @ 3:14 pm Reply

    Hi Mandy, thanks for the compliment on the picture! I am working really hard on my photos so I really appreciate. Regarding the mussels, first read my note in this post, after the mussels recipe: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2011/01/3-rustic-italian-appetizers-to-fall-in.htmlI think you'll see that preparing mussels is really not a big deal at all. That being said, you can always leave them out and just use more shrimp or fish :)

  12. 12

    Shanon — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    i LOVE a fish stew! the broth is what does it for me. and these flavors are so clean!!!

  13. 13

    janet — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Yum! I have shrimp allergies, so I'd probably sub more fish for them, but then the dish wouldn't look nearly as pretty! No need to hesitate when travelling! Just do it! :) (I preferred Turkey to Morocco, though…)

  14. 14

    Joanne — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    I say we both hop on a plane and go visit Dawn down in FL. That seems like the most viable option!This stew looks fantastic! You know my love of moroccan dishes knows no bounds…

  15. 15

    Kaytorade — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    I would be more than happy to join you on any Moroccan excursions. Even if we're not snowbound.

  16. 16

    Kaytorade — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    I would be more than happy to join you on any Moroccan excursions. Even if we're not snowbound.

  17. 17

    Beyondthepeel — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    This looks amazing. The photos are great. It looks like the perfect flavorful stew to get us through a cold winter day. True we live on Vancouver Island and the temperature never drops below 34 degrees(I'm rubbing it in just a little) but the humidity and the chill are bone penetrating. Thanks for sharing. So Yummy!

  18. 18

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    thanks! I'll have to add that to my list of place to travel!

  19. 19

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    I would love to go to Turkey too! I was actually supposed to go to Morocco at one point, on our honeymoon cruise, but the ship was re-routed due to security concerns. Can you have scallops? I'd bet they'd be nice in this dish too.

  20. 20

    Lizzy — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    OOOO Fennel and mussels! This looks like a winner. I love soups like this. Looks delicious!

  21. 21

    Chuck — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Wow, that really looks great! It's so cold here now, I could definitely go for a bowl!

  22. 22

    Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Great stew! I adore fennel too.It's cold here too….not anything like the rest of the country, but cold for us. And we aren't insulated well so it seeps in around doors and windows. Spring will soon be here….I hope!

  23. 23

    Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Great stew! I adore fennel too.It's cold here too….not anything like the rest of the country, but cold for us. And we aren't insulated well so it seeps in around doors and windows. Spring will soon be here….I hope!

  24. 24

    Mandy — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    I am with you all the way….until you get to the mussels. Then there is dead silence. My eyes can't read past "scrubbed and debearded." I want so desperately to be adventurous but I am honestly so freaked out about mussels. The picture is great, and all the other ingredients sound like they are delish. Maybe one day I will get the courage and jump in there with the bearded mussels.

  25. 25

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Hi Mandy, thanks for the compliment on the picture! I am working really hard on my photos so I really appreciate. Regarding the mussels, first read my note in this post, after the mussels recipe: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2011/01/3-rustic-italian-appetizers-to-fall-in.htmlI think you'll see that preparing mussels is really not a big deal at all. That being said, you can always leave them out and just use more shrimp or fish :)

  26. 26

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Hi Mandy, thanks for the compliment on the picture! I am working really hard on my photos so I really appreciate. Regarding the mussels, first read my note in this post, after the mussels recipe: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2011/01/3-rustic-italian-appetizers-to-fall-in.htmlI think you'll see that preparing mussels is really not a big deal at all. That being said, you can always leave them out and just use more shrimp or fish :)

  27. 27

    fooddreamer — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Thank you for giving mother nature a piece of your mind. There is so much snow around Boston, there isn't any place to put it anymore! ARGH! But I wouldn't mind a bowl of your loveley stew!

  28. 28

    Glutenfreegidget — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    Bookmarked!

  29. 29

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm Reply

    enjoy!

  30. 30

    Nisrine|Dinners & Dreams — March 28, 2011 @ 8:40 pm Reply

    Cra, I'm glad the recipe worked out for you. Your version of it looks beautiful!!

  31. 31

    Dawn Hutchins — March 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm Reply

    Your photos look gorgeous! And this looks so wonderful. I feel for you being in the cold…..New England winters are SO long and SO hard. My poor Dad was from San Diego and my mom had moved out there temporarily, met my dad, they got married and moved back to NE where my mom grew up. Needless to say he was miserable every winter. When they finally moved down here after me, my dad was so happy. I think mom still misses her friends but my dad didn’t look back! I have yet to try making mussels myself but every time I see them they look so delicious. I really would love to try this….I will have to see if they have any at our local fisherman’s dock.

  32. 32

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm Reply

    thanks Dawn! I think I'd like to move not only for better weather, but just to have a local fisherman's dock… what a concept!

  33. 33

    Emily — March 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm Reply

    I am sooo craving island-esque meals as well (and just finished a post on coconut shrimp for next week!). This soup looks fantastic and would definitely lift my blah winter spirits. I wonder how it would taste with some coconut milk in there!

  34. 34

    Debi (Table Talk) — March 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm Reply

    Cara, this sounds so perfect right now. Shellfish is so aromatic…just thinking about the sea makes me think of warmer weather! Love this one–

  35. 35

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm Reply

    Coconut milk?! Why didn't I think of that? It would be a fantastic addition!

  36. 36

    Tasha — March 28, 2011 @ 8:51 pm Reply

    My husband is from MA, and as much as we love to visit NE in the summers, there is a reason we live in FL. I'm a complete wuss when it's cold. I'd be ranting at Mother Nature too if I were you, only I'd be way more whiney about it!As for this soup- mussels, mahi, shrimp AND chickpeas…seriously, you could've designed this recipe specifically for my husband. Everything he loves! It looks wonderful!

  37. 37

    Cara — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    Hi Mandy, thanks for the compliment on the picture! I am working really hard on my photos so I really appreciate. Regarding the mussels, first read my note in this post, after the mussels recipe: http://carascravings.blogspot.com/2011/01/3-rustic-italian-appetizers-to-fall-in.htmlI think you'll see that preparing mussels is really not a big deal at all. That being said, you can always leave them out and just use more shrimp or fish :)

  38. 38

    Barbara — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    Great stew! I adore fennel too.It's cold here too….not anything like the rest of the country, but cold for us. And we aren't insulated well so it seeps in around doors and windows. Spring will soon be here….I hope!

  39. 39

    Shanon — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    i LOVE a fish stew! the broth is what does it for me. and these flavors are so clean!!!

  40. 40

    Emily — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    I am sooo craving island-esque meals as well (and just finished a post on coconut shrimp for next week!). This soup looks fantastic and would definitely lift my blah winter spirits. I wonder how it would taste with some coconut milk in there!

  41. 41

    Cara — April 5, 2011 @ 1:25 am Reply

    thanks! I'll have to add that to my list of place to travel!

  42. 42

    Emily — April 5, 2011 @ 1:25 am Reply

    I am sooo craving island-esque meals as well (and just finished a post on coconut shrimp for next week!). This soup looks fantastic and would definitely lift my blah winter spirits. I wonder how it would taste with some coconut milk in there!

  43. 43

    Cara — April 5, 2011 @ 1:25 am Reply

    thanks Dawn! I think I'd like to move not only for better weather, but just to have a local fisherman's dock… what a concept!

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