Karl’s Caldeirada Portuguese Fish Stew

Wife Jan is having her Burner friends over and asked me to cook for them—this seemed a very popular idea with her friends. Thinking about what to make I settled on a Caldeirada—Portuguese fish stew. Like many fishermen’s stews there is not set ingredients list—“what did we catch today? Throw it in.” What makes this dish Portuguese is the addition of Portuguese ingredients, chouriço, Portuguese dry white wine, and pimentón red pepper.

Karl’s Caldeirada Portuguese Fish Stew

Karl’s Caldeirada
Portuguese Fish Stew

While this soup is frequently made with potatoes, I decided to move them to another dish, patatas bravas. Wife Jan is always pushing me to add more vegetables to my meals. Many Portuguese dishes do not have much in the way of vitamin-infused, green leafy vegetables, but they are open to their addition—especially kale. To please the wife, I am adding extra greens to all three of my dishes this week—spinach to the salad, cilantro to the potatoes and kale to this fish stew.

Note: To go with the dishes I made wife Jan bought some Portuguese bread from a new bakery that just opened in San Jose. While I was disappointed with the bread—one loaf was under-baked—the pastéis de nata—egg tarts—however, lived up to the hype.

Karl’s Caldeirada Portuguese Fish Stew


24 shrimp
1 Tbs. Consome de Cameron

½ lb. kale, shredded finely

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. butter
½ lb. chouriço, casing removed, quartered, and sliced

1 large onion, halved pole to pole and thinly sliced

8 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste

1 can (14.5 oz.) fire roasted tomatoes

32 oz. fish stock
2 cups Vinho Verde
2 tsp. anchovy paste
2 Fresno red chilies, sliced OR 1 Portuguese hot chili (if you can find them)
1 tsp. saffron, ground

1 red bell pepper, coarsely diced (fresh Pimentón preferred)
2 lb. cod
24 mussels

½ cup chopped parsley, separate uses
Salt and white pepper to taste


1. Peel the shrimp and place the shells in a small pot and dry fry them for 2-3 minutes.

Tip: I always buy shrimp with the shells on, so I can add the flavor of the shells to my fish stock.

Note: Reserve the shrimp meat for later in the refrigerator.

2. Add 1½ cups of water and 1 tablespoon of Consome de Cameron.

Tip: Consone de Cameron is a fast way of infusing a deep shrimp flavor to any dish that needs it.

3. Trim the leaf ribs from the kale and add them to the shrimp shells.

Tip: These ribs are almost too tough to eat, but I figured why waste their flavor—into the stock they go.

Note: Do not shred the kale leave at the point, set them aside and reserve that for later.

4. Simmer the shells for 20 minutes, until there is about one cup of liquid left in the pot.

5. Strain out the solids and reserve the broth.

6. Heat the butter and olive oil to a large soup pot over a medium high heat.

Tip: I used my 12 quart Dutch oven, because it makes a good rustic serving pot.

7. Add the chouriço bits and sauté them for 2-3 minutes.

Tip: Do not overcook the sausage, you are trying to extract some of the flavorful grease, not to turn them into meat rocks.

8. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl.

9. Add the onions and salt to the pot and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are starting to caramelize nicely.

10. Pull the onions to the sides of the pot and sauté the garlic and tomato paste in the hole in the center, until the garlic is fragrant and the paste is starting to brown.

11. Use the fire roasted tomatoes to deglaze the bottom of the pot.

12. Add the fish stock, wine, anchovy paste, sliced chilies, saffron, and shrimp stock to the pot.

13. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer.

14. Simmer the broth for 20-30 minutes.

15. Stack several pieces of the leafy kale and shred them as finely as you can.

Tip: The thin shreds of kale cook very quickly. Cooked for only a few inutes and the kale will maintain its bright green color.

Note: Do not overcook the kale. Big strips of kale will become tender only after you have cooked them for so long that they becomes unpleasantly bitter.

16. Continue with the rest of the kale and set the shreds aside.

17 . Cut your cod into ¾ inch pieces.

18. Stir the kale into the broth.

Tip: If you simply dump the kale into the pot it will seize into a solid lump, that with be hard to disentangle. Add the kale in small handfuls, stir as you go.

19. Stir in the chouriço, bell pepper, cod, mussels, shrimp, and most of the parsley.

20. Continue simmering for 3-4 minutes, until the mussels open and the cod is cooked through.

Tip: Taste the soup and decide if it needs white pepper and any more salt.

Note: After you add the cod, do not stir the pot after the first two minute. After that point, stirring might break the fish into bits.

22. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve directly from the pot.


Filed under Main Dishes, Seafood, Stews

4 responses to “Karl’s Caldeirada Portuguese Fish Stew

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Portuguese Flavored Cucumber Pickle Salad | Jabberwocky Stew

  2. Pingback: Karl’s Patatas Bravas II | Jabberwocky Stew

  3. Pingback: Karl’s Curried Deviled Eggs with Capers | Jabberwocky Stew

  4. chefkreso

    Love these kinds of Mediterranean flavours and recipes, yummy!

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