Friday, December 2, 2016

Seafood Stew from The Little Kitchen

Bear with me, friends--this will be my first post from my "new" kitchen, and I'm still figuring out how it works. But mostly it does work, so now it's just getting used to it. Details like "where did I put that?" and "I can't set that down there--it's hot!"

My kitchen!

The title is kind of a pun. Yes, my kitchen is little, although bigger than my first apartment kitchen, although the appliances are smaller. But this recipe was inspired by a dish I had for lunch at An Chistin Beag, which is the Irish for The Little Kitchen. It's a small place in the center of Skibbereen, with a handful of tables, and the women who run it put out very good food. The seafood stew was on the menu when I ate there a week ago (not for the first time!).

There it was served in small bowls, which was a nice size for one person. Here at the cottage I needed to serve two people. All the ramekins I saw were tiny (about half a cup) and weren't suitable for cooking, so I opted for a midsize casserole dish, which was just right for two.

Okay, recipe: it's lovely chunks of fresh fish (I bought half a kilo at the fishmonger's in Union Hall yesterday morning--it doesn't get fresher than that) poached in milk and stock. The fish goes into the casserole, and you thicken the liquid and pour it over. Then you top the whole with mashed potatoes and some grated local cheese and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes or so, and you're done!

Seafood Stew from An Chistin Beag


(Note: measurements here would make one largish casserole, or two medium ones)

mixed bits of fish (I used a mix of salmon and an unidentified white fish)--half a pound would serve two, a pound serves four nicely. The fish should be in chunks about an inch square

3 cups cooking liquid--I used a mix of milk and chicken stock (I didn't have any fish stock on hand)

half an onion

a few sprigs of parsley

more parsley, chopped
a dash of dried thyme

salt and pepper

3 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp flour

2-3 cups homemade mashed potatoes, fresh or left-over

1/2 cup coarsely grated cheese (I used a locally-made cheddar)


Put the fish pieces in a deep saucepan and pour the liquid over them. Toss in the half-onion and the parsley. Set over low heat and simmer until the fish is cooked but still tender.

Drain the fish in a colander, reserving the cooking liquid, pull out the half-onion and the parsley, and place in a casserole.

In another pan, melt 3 Tblsp butter, then add the flour and whisk together. Let the mixture cook over low heat to cook the flour. Then add the cooking liquid, whisking constantly, and cook until the mixture thickens. Add the chopped parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and mix. Pour the thickened liquid over the fish in the casserole.

Spoon the mashed potatoes over the fish and spread gently to cover completely. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.

I made mine--no leftovers!)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, enough to heat the dish through and brown the top just a bit. Don't overdo it if you want the lovely fresh fish to be tender.

Can I stay in Ireland longer? I only just got the kitchen organized, and added the last piece of furniture yesterday, and there's still painting and patching to do, and the garden needs sorting, and...  In the spring? My police friend says the daffodils will be blooming.

I have so many new story ideas! I'll get back to work by next week. Really.

Sunset at Garryglass


  1. I'm trying to cook lighter. Would a cornstarch slurry thicken up the liquid instead of the flour and butter?

    1. Probably. Blend the cornstarch with a little liquid, and just keep stirring as you add it to the sauce to avoid lumps! But it shouldn't change the flavor.

  2. You're having so much fun! I love your little kitchen. Curious recipe. It never would have occurred to me but I can imagine that it's very tasty!

    1. My husband declared the recipe a keeper, if that helps (we had enough for two meals, and it reheated well).

  3. Love your little kitchen! And anything with mashed potatoes on it has my vote!

    1. I had to add a potato masher to my limited collection of tools, but hey, it's Ireland! The potatoes there have names like "Rooster" and they come in washed and unwashed (complete with dirt!) packages.

  4. Love the kitchen and thank you for posting this on a Friday it is perfect!

  5. I think this is the love child of a shepherd's pie and a seafood chowder!
    Lovely. What fun to put the potatoes on top, rather than in the chowder.
    We are going to be getting such wonderful tales from your "new" cottage!

  6. Basic British fish pie, so common that it is sold ready-made in supermarkets there to heat-and-eat. If making it at home I usually add a handful of small shrimp/prawns to the fish, or replace the salmon with smoked haddock for a tasty variation.

    1. I debated about adding a bit of smoked salmon, but I just ate it instead. Sure, you can add whatever you like!

  7. Loving your posts about Ireland so much, Sheila. I am truly enjoying my armchair travel.

  8. Love seeing your posts from Ireland! My daughter and the other AP US History and AP World Hsitory students are going to Ireland in May. Unfortunately we're not going to Skibberreen. I'm just happy to see any of Ireland!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!