Caldeirada (Portuguese monster fish stew)


Prep time
30 minutes to 1 hour
Cooking time
30 minutes to 1 hour


  • 6 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 large green peppers, sliced
  • 75ml / 2.5fl oz olive oil
  • 60g / 2.5oz chopped flatleaf parsley
  • a good pinch of saffron
  • 450g / 16oz potatoes, diced
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 4 large juicy ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 75ml / 2.5fl oz tomato paste
  • 500ml / 17.5fl oz dry white wine
  • 250ml / 8.5fl oz water
  • 450g / 1lb squid, cleaned
  • 25 clams or cockles
  • 900g / 2lb oily fish like mackerel, swordfish or tuna
  • 900g / 2lb white fish like sea bass, monkfish, hake or haddock
  • 225g / 8oz good large raw prawns
  • 24 mussels
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 30g chopped fresh coriander


  1. Slowly sweat off the onion, garlic and green peppers in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. After sweating, cover to stew very gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This breaks down the green pepper to a more palatable form.

  2. Add the parsley, saffron, potatoes, bay leaves, peppercorns, tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and water. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

  3. Add the squid and clams or cockles and simmer for another ten minutes.

  4. Add the fish, prawns and mussels in layers. Don't stir this as you'll want the fish to cook in the broth.

  5. Sprinkle with a heavy dose of the black pepper, cover and cook for about ten minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the mussels and clams or cockles are open. Discard any that don't open.

  6. Ladle the stew gently into vat-sized bowls and sprinkle with the chopped coriander.

  7. Serve with bread. We also like to provide some piri piri as a dipping sauce alongside some olive oil laced with a little truffle oil to dip your bread into.