New England Fish Stew

New England Fish Stew

It’s the one you make when you have leftover fish and lots of odds and ends in your fridge.

This came about during a fridge clean out at the end of a week long summer vacation on Cape Cod.

You’ll need some leftover cooked fish, rice (maybe it’s my Orange Coconut Rice), onions and celery… Maybe you have a bag of frozen veggies, like frozen corn, or a mix of peas and carrots stocked away. Maybe it’s some lonely green beans hiding at the bottom of the veggie drawer. If you don’t have rice, do you have potatoes? Seriously, anything goes!

What Do I Love Most About This Stew?

  • It’s so adaptable. You really just need a few major ingredients for the base, and after that, use what you have!
  • Using the odds and ends instead of letting them go to waste.

The Must-haves:

  • minimal amount of salty, fatty meat (such as bacon, salt pork or prosciutto)
  • some milk or cream (dairy free is fine too)
  • can of coconut milk (or substitute this with more water, milk or cream depending on your preference)
  • some white wine and water
  • a little butter
  • veggies: onions and celery (must haves) and whatever you else you have (use ’em all)!
  • starch (1-2 potatoes, a cup of rice or both!)
  • leftover meaty fish (such as swordfish, salmon, sea bass, halibut)
  • minced clams

The Method to Cooking Any Chowder or Fish Stew

  1. Cook the meat and reserve. Keep some of the fat in the pot.
  2. Add butter, herbs and garlic to fat and cook your raw veggies for 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the clear liquids to the pot and let it come to a simmer, then add the potatoes and cook on a slow boil or simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add any already cooked ingredients like leftover fish, minced clams, rice, frozen veggies.
  5. Stir in the milk and/or cream and add the cooked meat back in. Done!

The Hacks:

New England Fish Stew

July 27, 2020
: 8
: 10 min
: 30 min
: 40 min
: Easy

Don't let the ingredient list scare you. Many of them are optional, this is adaptable and there are lots of options here. A leftover Rhode Island clam cake was added to the top of my coffee mug for garnish instead of the reserved meat.


  • 4 ounces of salty, fatty meat (such as bacon, salt pork or prosciutto)
  • ¼ stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (minced)
  • Herbs dried or fresh (pick one: dill, basil, parsley)
  • ½ an onion and 3 celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups diced potatoes or leftover rice (or both)
  • 2 cups of milk or cream (whatever you have in your fridge)
  • Leftover meaty fish (for example: salmon, tuna, swordfish, sea bass)
  • 6.5 oz canned minced clams
  • Frozen corn (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper diced and seeded (optional)
  • Odds and ends (optional: carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, green beans, frozen peas, leeks)
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
  • Step 1 Place the meat in a large heavy pot and cook over medium heat until nicely browned and crisp (cooking times vary). Transfer the meat to paper towels to drain and set aside. Pour off all but a couple tablespoons of fat to coat the bottom.
  • Step 2 Add the butter to the pot and melt it over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, onions, celery, herbs, and any other raw vegetable (if using them). Cook until tender (about 8 minutes) and stir frequently.
  • Step 3 Add in the water, wine and coconut milk and whisk together. Then add the potatoes (if using them) and let it come to a simmer and cook until the potatoes soften and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add frozen veggies (if using them), the clams (with all their juices) and cooked rice (if using) to the pot and let simmer until the veggies are warm.
  • Step 5 Stir in your dairy or nondairy milk or cream, and add the meat back in (reserve some for garnish). Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes. Don’t let it boil or the milk could curdle.
  • Step 6 Ladle the stew into coffee mugs and garnish with reserved meat and a fresh herb of your choice.