Spanish Inspired Monkfish, Chorizo and Bean Stew

Monkfish and Chorizo Stew (16 of 17)Perhaps this should be retitled “We have a decent bottle of Spanish wine and we had better drink it before it goes off.” My only reservation with that is, while true, it might not tell the recipe story. It is the inspiration but not the dish. So, let’s stick with Spanish Inspired Monkfish, Chorizo and Bean Stew as the title and please forgive the mentions of the seventeen year old bottle of Faustino 1 that went with (and in) the food. 

The Wife and I were idling at home on a cold, damp, winter evening. I fancied a nice drop of red. A visit to my much depleted cellar (read: largely empty wine rack in the disused dining room.) suggested it was time to open the bottle of Faustino that had been hanging around for a number of years. Herself also thought this to be a good idea.

There aren’t too many monkfish recipes (not that I know) that would support a robust, seasoned red wine. Monk and chorizo is a great combination. This led me to rummage the presses and see if I could come up with the ingredients for a Spanish style stew to go with the wine. My eventual ingredients list includes a tin of butter beans that have been hanging around the cupboard for nearly as long as the wine.

Two kinds of paprika add some depth to the Spanish flavour.

Two kinds of paprika add some depth to the Spanish flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 400 grammes of fresh monkfish tail
  • 2 uncooked Chorizo sausages
  • 1 onion
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 peppers
  • Half a teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika
  • Half a teaspoon of hot Spanish paprika
  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • A decent squeeze of tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 glass of that 17-year-old Spanish wine
  • Flour for dusting
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste and for seasoning the dusting flour

The first thing I did was to open the wine. I really believed that after so long in my sub-optimal storage conditions, the wine would have to go straight down the drain. Thankfully, my fears were groundless and I set up a shot, as you do.

I wonder who the guy in the big hat is? Big hat, big shirt and a big wine!

I wonder who’s the guy in the big hat? Big hair, big hat, big shirt and a big wine!

To prepare this stew, you need to follow these easy steps. First slice the chorizo into chunks and put them on a medium hot dry pan. We want them to sweat their fat just like a new gym member in January.

The chorizo give up it's fat easily. Don't over-cook these beauties.

The chorizo give up its fat easily. Don’t over-cook these beauties.

While the chorizo is slimming down, chop some onions and add them to the pan.

Like an Irishman on his first Spanish holiday, the onions take on a nice red colour.

Like an Irishman on his first Spanish holiday, the onions take on a nice red glow.

Soften the onions and then add the peppers that you have sliced while the onions were softening (you know what I mean).

I love this shot with the little wisps of steam (I might be losing it).

I love this shot with the little wisps of steam (I might be losing it).

Soften the peppers and then add the bay leaf.

Yes, a big picture just for the bay leaf. It's important!

Yes, a big picture just for the bay leaf. It’s important!

Next add the tomatoes, and everything else in the tin.

A tomato pouring shot! Is there no end to the things one can pour?

A tomato pouring shot! Is there no end to the things one can pour?

Then rinse and add the beans.

I was going to say "bean there, done that." but, that would have made them has beans.

I was going to say “bean there, done that.” but, that would have made them has beans.

Next add the paprika.

Don't overdo the paprika. The two sorts add a nice warm glow and some depth of flavour.

Don’t overdo the paprika. The two sorts add a nice warm glow and some depth of flavour.

Follow this with the tomato paste.

About that much should do it nicely.

About that much should do it nicely.

Then man up and pour in some of that gorgeous wine. It is not going to waste. It adds an extra dimension and helps the wine in the glass to integrate with the dish. You will have to trust me on that.

This was hard to do. It's 17 years old for goodness sake!

This was hard to do. It’s 17 years old for goodness sake!

Give the pot a good stir and let it come to a simmer. Slice the monkfish into chunky pieces. Dust them with seasoned flour and, in a different pan, lightly brown them.

Lightly brown them. There should be an expression "golden them". That is what we want.

Lightly brown them. There should be an expression “golden them”. That is what we want.

Don’t cook them through. Remove them and add them to the stew. Turn off the heat and let the fish finish cooking in the residual heat.

Monkfish pieces cooking in the residual heat. A couple of minutes will do the trick.

Monkfish pieces cooking in the residual heat. A couple of minutes will do the trick.

Side note on not over cooking the monkfish: Don’t overcook the monkfish. It will turn to leather faster than you can say “cuero” (That’s Spanish for leather).

Add a sprinkle of parsley and a big squeeze of lemon juice.

The lemon juice also adds another dimension of flavour. It works well.

The lemon juice also adds another dimension of flavour. It works well.

Pour a couple of glasses of the Faustino and serve to an appreciative guest or two.

One quick shot of the monkfish before it went on it's final journey, washed down by that glorious glug.

One quick shot of the monkfish before it went on its final journey, washed down by that glorious glug.

This takes very little time to prepare, as long as you discount the 17 years the wine was hanging around. I would encourage you to try it. “El vino complementa el cocido a la perfección.” as they say in Google Translate.

Bon apetito.

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Latest comments
  • I can endorse it – it’s splendid.

    • Thanks Peter. Highest endorsement indeed.

  • Howya Conor,
    Thank You, now I remember! I had a spicy chicken casserole type thing similar to this in a Spanish restaurant a while back and it was so good. I’m sure it was made in much the same way as yours and I forgot about it till now. By the way, yours looks bloody gorgeous!

    • Hi Evan,
      I hope all goes well with you. I did something similar since with pork and it too was pretty good. It’s really easy and very tasty. Thanks for the kind words.

  • Lovely, I often cook pork that way but have never tried it with monkfish – cue a visit to the fishmonger.

    • Hi Linda,
      I did a similar version with pork and it turned out pretty well. Post to follow when I get my act together. It didn’t have the lovely wine in, which is a pity.
      Conor

  • This sounds delicious and I love that you used butter beans.

    • Thanks Rosemary,
      I reckon I got my butter beans inspiration from seeing them appear on your blog so often.

  • I’ve only cooked monkfish once. Ugly buggers but lovely texture … the chorizo is a great pairing.

    • Thank you John,
      The monk certainly would not win any beauty contests. It can be very expensive around these parts but it’s worth it.

  • Monkfish. Do we get that in the states? I think I’ve had it. Any idea on a good fish substitute?

    • I would use any firm fleshed fish for this. The trick is to not let it overcook. With monk, it goes tough. With others like cod (which would be excellent) they would fall apart. It’s all in the timing of getting them to the table…

      • I really like cod. I think I am going to pass along this recipe to my mum. I think she’d really like it.

        • You are truly thoughtful. My Mum just came around to ours and ate it.

  • Love the flavors you have here. And yes! Monkfish is a lovely fish, especially in a stew such as this. Great post!

    • Thanks. The combinations worked well. I could do with some today. It hasn’t stopped raining and winding for a couple of days here.

  • Monkfish is very good with strong flavours and I’m sure this would go down very well in Spain 😉

    • Thanks MD. They certainly went down well here in Dublin.

  • This is so gorgeous. I love Spanish food as you know and I was just eyeing a gorgeous monkfish. Such great flavors here! And I drink wine with all of my good Spanish meals. Que rico! Muy bien hecho! Beautiful photos too.

    • Spanish food seems to support robust wines well. It probably has to do with the hot climate over there. In fact, it has everything to do with the climate over there.

  • Oh my. Yes. I love monkfish, but it’s so expensive!

    • The irony is that monkfish used to be known as poor man’s lobster as it has a similar taste and especially texture, whereas now it is almost as expensive.

      • I did a post featuring the poor man’s lobster previously (monkfish wellington). It was fun.

  • Great post, Conor, I absolutely love the photos. The paprika sprinkling shot is amazing and the first plates shot has great colors, composition and depth of field.
    Interesting how older wines are often either delicious or awful. Great this bottle worked out for you!
    Monkfish is one of the few fishes that can handle red wine, although such a hefty Spanish red seems quite a daring choice. Good idea to add the tomatoes and chorizo to help in that respect, as well as make it more Spanish. The lemon again is daring.
    And of course you didn’t overcook the fish. Lovely!

    • Thanks Stefan, It was a case of using what I had to hand. The wine was the best choice from what I had in the rack. The lemon (not too much) worked well, thanks be to goodness.

  • Love it!

    • Thank you. I had fun cooking it and we had fun eating (and drinking) it.

      • Great to know… cooking, eating, drinking and having fun… That’s all I want!

  • I don’t know what I liked best. The sausages “sweat[ing] their fat just like a new gym member in January” or the glow of the onion “like an Irishman on his first Spanish holiday.” Oh, yeah, and the food looks pretty good too. 🙂

    • Thanks Michelle, I had fun writing this one. When the food works well, it is easier to write about.

  • Bravo! Excellent post and I’m sure a good use of your wine. I bet this would work with Pacific Ling Cod or Halibut, too.

    • I reckon halibut would be pretty perfect with it. Though, halibut is in mortgage territory around here. The monk is expensive enough for me….

  • yes… the poor man’s lobster… I love it. And the butter beans and sausage seal the deal. Delicious. And way to up-cycle the wine!

    • Thanks Wendy. I imagine that this would be pretty special with actual lobster too, if one could afford it.

  • Yummers! This sounds amazing. I have never tried anything like this before.

    • Hi BAM,
      Perhaps geography is to blame, what with you going straight from the US to the East and not stopping off in Europe for a while!
      It is easy and worth a try, IMHO.
      Best,
      Conor

  • What a great winter stew, Conor. I’m craving a bowl right now. Actually, I could just eat those fried up pieces of chorizo, but I know stopping there would be a travesty. Seventeen years seems worth the wait.

    • It was very difficult to stop myself from having “just one piece”. There is no such thing as just one piece.

  • Conor, you’re very funny. And a great cook! Lovely dish! How’s your wife doing?

    • Thanks Mimi, kind words indeed.
      The Wife is on the road to recovery. It has been a bit of a struggle but she is the most positive person I know and that is half the battle. Onwards and upwards!

  • I can see that there’s such a delicious warmth to this stew. I feel greatly sad and yet (relieved) that it’s not quite stew weather here in our Sydney Summer. I look forward to the day when there’s a slow braise or a pot of something spicy and comforting, just like this!

    • Thanks Alice,
      We really could do with some of your summer. I’ll trade it for some stew.

  • Gosh, lucky you Conor,
    this poor’s man lobster tail is one of my wish list to cook, i once almost had it in french restaurant, but once i order it, it’s out of stock..
    waht a shame…
    btw, is that monk fish as succulent and crisp as lobster tail???

    • Not quite, but not far away either. It is not quite as firm fleshed but very tasty if cooked well.

  • Nice recipe, Conor, and great photos. Lots of pouring shots; so, Baby Lady is gong to have to up her game. I like monkfish but it really is as expensive (if not more so) than lobster. It is perfect to make a ballotine. Here is a gratuitous, self-serving link. 😀
    http://remcooks.com/2012/07/20/serrano-ham-wrapped-monkfish-with-white-asparagus-sous-vide/
    Also, it’s a seasonal treat in DFW and hard to find fresh. I would think lobster would work well with this as would prawns. In fact, given the stronger flavor of prawns, the latter might be a better choice.

    • Thanks Richard. I think any firm fleshed fish would be good (excluding tuna and sword). The trick is in finishing the fish in the stew and serving it as soon as it is cooked.

  • My husband wanted monkfish and chorizo kebabs but it just didn’t feel right on this rainy, windy night. I came across your recipe and convinced my hubby to give it a go. so glad we did. Beautiful thick sauce and so tasty. I added a little chilli but otherwise kept to your recipe – thank you.

    • Hi Sue,
      The chili is a great addition. Delighted you found it useful. Thanks for visiting. Do come back soon.
      Best,
      Conor

  • I like it Conor; any suggestions for a non-meat alternative to chorizo ( … for some pescatarian guests).

  • Very good indeed. I ended up adapting the recipe slightly due to store cupboard issues and personal taste (I like garlic but am not a fan of parsley). So, I added a clove of crushed garlic in the late frying stage. In the mayhem I forgot to add the regular and smoked paprika (even though I had both in the spice cupboard). To be fair it didn’t seem to affect the end result – it was delicious. The other change was precipitated by a tomato puree crisis (had run out) so used a few spoons of salsa. Final changes were a squeeze of lime rather than lemon and a coriander rather than parsley garnish. Served with basmati rice and it was absolutely delicious but next time I’ll try and stay closer to the original recipe.

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