Gulf of Maine groundfish, chorizo and white bean stew

To go with our groundfish issue this week, closing out our February Feast, we offer this recipe, from Christine Burns Rudalevidge, a Brunswick-area chef and food writer. Enjoy!

Serves 4


In the wake of the cod fishery management changes handed down by regulators last month, lovers of the New England seafood staple will need to look to other ground fish in the Gulf of Maine to satisfy their craving for cod.  Luckily for eaters living adjacent to the Gulf of Maine, using haddock, hake, pollock and even farmed cobia in a pinch as a substitute for cod in most beloved recipes is an easy stretch of the imagination.   This recipe plays on the classic Spanish tradition of a hearty white fish, spicy chorizo and white beans. It's a complete meal, completed in one pan and leftovers heat up really well.  -- Christine Burns Rudalevige



4, 6-ounce groundfish fillets (loin cuts if possible)

Salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ cup chopped Spanish chorizo (take care to remove the casings before chopping the cured sausage)

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped celery or fennel

4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1 cup fish stock (maybe more)

½ cup dry white wine

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cups cooked white beans



Dry the fillets with a paper towel and season them on both sides with salt and pepper.  Take a good look at the fillets and figure out which side used to have the skin. 


In a large skillet with a cover, get the olive oil pretty hot.  Place the fish into the pan with the side that used to have the skin on it facing up.  Cook the fillets on medium high heat until they pick up some caramelized color (2-4 minutes).  Gingerly remove the fillets (they are only partially cooked at this point) from the pan and set them aside on a plate.


Add the chorizo to the pan and let it cook until it renders its fat and signature pimento orangey-red color. Add onions and celery (or fennel) to the pan and sauté until they start to soften (3-4 minutes).  Add garlic slices and thyme leaves. Once you start to smell both, add broth and wine.  Partially cover the pan and braise the mixture to further soften the vegetables.  After about 4 minutes, add in the cherry tomatoes and let them cook with the stew until they start to split their skins (about 3-4 minutes). 


Stir in the cooked beans and nestle the fish fillets into the stew, taking care to keep the caramelized tops above water.  If the level of broth in the pan does not reach 2/3rds the way up the fillets, add more stock until it does.  Let the stew simmer until the fish is cooked through.


Dish up the hot stew in wide bowls and serve it with crusty bread.


Variations on the groundfish stew theme

  • To bump up the seafood quotient, add 16 clams at the same time you add the fish to the stew.
  • To give the dish an Italian bent, use hot Italian sausage instead of chorizo, stir a tablespoon of tomato paste into the braised vegetables, double the stock and the wine and stir in ½ pound of al dente pasta 2-3 minutes before serving. Finish the dish with ¼ cup of chopped Italian parsley.
  • To make a fish curry, ditch the sausage altogether, swap out the tomatoes in favor of sliced red peppers, use a cup of light coconut milk and a tablespoons of red or green curry paste in place of the wine, use black beans instead of white ones, drop in 8 large shrimp when you add the fish to the stew, and garnish with chopped cilantro.


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