Haddock, baby potatoes, and leeks come together in this fish stew with lots of dill to create an herbaceous-tasting meal, reminiscent of potato leek soup, but with a light and fresh take. Potatoes are made crispy in two ways that delight the taste buds, with some optional toppings to make it interesting!

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crispy potato and fish stew with some on a spoon.

close up of fish and potato stew with all the toppings.

Why make this Herby Fish Stew with Crispy Potatoes?

  • Ease: In true “stew” fashion, the fish is cooked in the broth with the other ingredients (no searing or baking before). First, the vegetables are quickly seared and sauteed, a small portion of the ingredients are then blended and finally, the fish is added. It’s that easy.
  • Speed: The simple process outlined above takes all of 20 minutes, once the ingredients are prepped (which takes about 10-15 min). While the soup cooks you roast up some fancy, crispy toppings!
  • Change it up: In contrast to rich buttery, creamy fish chowders, or tomato-based Mediterranean (i.e. Cioppino) stews, this chunky fish stew recipe has more veggie and herb flavors.
  • Nutrition: the method and ingredients make it possible to concoct a filling and creamy style fish stew using potatoes instead of butter or dairy products. This time of year, the vitamin C and potassium in potatoes are welcome, not to mention the extra fiber from leaving the skins on the potatoes.

1. potatoes browning. 2. leeks, onions, and garlic cooking with browned potatoes. 3. fresh dill added to soup.

split leeks close up
cleaning leeks

No matter how clean your leeks may look, lots of dirt lurks in between the layers of the lovely leek, so be sure to clean thoroughly. Slice off the root ends and cut them lengthwise, which allows you to pull apart the layers and rinse them all under the faucet vigorously.

1. split leeks ready for inspection. 2. main ingredients for stew. 3. sliced ingredients for toppings.

Ingredient Notes + Substitutions

  • Potatoes: I’m using baby potatoes (only about 1.5″ diam.) to maximize the potato skins for browning and for cute topping shapes ;), but you can use any size of potatoes, cutting them into chunks about 1″ or so.
  • Fish: I’m using Haddock, but any fish will work. Cod is similar but thicker, for example. Just cut into 1.5″ ish chunks for ease in cooking and eating. You can use frozen fish. See method and tip about fish skin below.
  • Liquid: I use water for this recipe. The flavor comes from the potato, alliums (onion, leek, garlic) , fish, and herbs and I think it is heavenly. You can make it fish forward with fish stock, or saltier with veggie stock. I don’t recommend chicken stock which would take the flavors in another direction.
fish chunks
fish pro tip

My local grocer offered to trim the skin off the haddock I bought the other day (sharp knives!) and said he would happily do that for any fish I buy. I recommend you aim to do this as well. No one wants fish skin in their stew!

1. cooked stew ingredients ready for partial blending before adding fish. 2. roasted potato slices for topping. 3. 1/3 of the stew is blended and added back to pot, ready for fish to be added.

Method + Timing for making this Herby Fish Stew

  • Stovetop stew: Ideally, the potatoes and alliums are cooked quickly at high heat, so using a thick-bottomed soup pot like a Dutch oven is helpful. Any stainless or enamel pot works well for high-heat cooking, in my experience.
  • Sticking: Once the portion of potatoes and veggies has been blended and broken down, you will lower the heat to medium to prevent the blended ingredients from sticking.
  • Fresh vs. frozen fish: I have not made this stew with frozen fish, but there is no reason you cannot use it. If you use frozen I would defrost it first, or if adding frozen chunks to stew, I would cook on med-low heat to avoid the sticking mentioned above.
  • Crispy potatoes two ways: Chunks of potatoes are browned and crisped in the stew, and thinly sliced potatoes are roasted in a hot oven for a crispy topping to the stew.
  • Pulling it all together: In a nutshell, once you spend a few minutes chopping the ingredients, you quickly brown the initial ingredients, allow them to soften, and add water to cook for a few more minutes. During this time, you slice up some toppings and supervise them in the oven roasting. Once you pull the toppings out of the oven, you blend the portion of the stew and finish the cooking with the fish and herbs.
fish and potato stew served in bowl with toppings.

Serving + Reheating

  • Serving: Take a minute to make sure the texture (how brothy or thick) of the stew is to your liking. As you can see in my photos, the 3 cups water and blending 1/3 of the soup (before adding fish) yields a thick stew. If you need 4 larger servings or like it a bit less thick, you can stir in another 1/2c liquid and adjust seasonings if needed. After spooning stew into bowls, distribute the crunchy roasted toppings around the soup like above photo and add sprigs of dill and voila!
  • Reheating: I recommend adding a bit of liquid when reheating on the stovetop on med-low heat to avoid sticking. You can reheat in the microwave, but the microwave will retain some smell of fish, so I avoid it for this reason alone.

fish stew toppings on a spoon
Don’t skimp on the toppings!

Some might think these are superfluous garnishes and skip them, but they add flavor, crunch, and texture integral to the stew. The roasted potato, leek, and jalapeno slices (if you like a little heat), as well as the fresh dill should not be forgotten before serving this herby stew of fish and potatoes with crunch!

fish and potato stew in bowl with spoon, served with toppings and crackers.

As leftovers, the next day, the above bowl of herby fish stew with potatoes and more toppings and crackers is every bit as herby and delicious as the day before!

Try other thick and satisfying soups like Sofa Dinners Vegan Mushroom Soup with crispy toppings, Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup with spiced yogurt topping, or Vegan Chili with Charred Veggies!

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bowl of thick fish and potato stew with crispy potato and fresh dill garnish.

Herby Fish Stew with Crispy Potatoes (dairy-free)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Servings4
Calories276
Haddock, baby potatoes, and leeks come together with lots of dill to create an herbaceous-tasting thick stew, reminiscent of potato leek soup, but with a light and fresh take.
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 3.5 qt dutch oven, or stainless soup pot
  • 1 sheet pan
  • 1 blender, or food processor, or immersion blender

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb white fish (haddock, cod, flounder) (up to 1.25lbs.)
  • 1 lb baby new potatoes (can sub 3 med. or 2 lar. )
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3 scallions (optional topping)
  • 1 bunch fresh dill (don't skimp!)
  • 1 jalapeno or two (totally optional as a topping)
  • 3 cups water, veggie bouillon or fish stock (I use water for less salt)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or avocado oil)

Method:  

  • Cut fish into 1-1.5" chunks.
  • Cut baby potatoes in quarters (if using larger potatoes, cut into 1-1.5" cubes). Reserve 4 oz (about 6 baby potatoes) and slice thinly for topping.
  • Prepare leeks- you must slice lengthwise and pull apart layers to wash away dirt that hides in between. Then slice 1/4" wide. I use the entire leek. Reserve a couple small handfuls for the topping.
  • Chop the onion, mince or chop the garlic and slice the scallions.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 with a rack in top quarter of oven. Preheat the pot for the stew. If using Dutch oven heat on med-high for 5 min. If thinner bottomed stainless pot, heat on medium for 5 min.
  • Once soup pot is nice and hot, add the olive oil and quarted potatoes. Cook for 5-10 min, and don't stir that often. You want the different sides of the potatoes to brown and crisp up.
  • Once potatoes are nice and brown, add the leeks, onion, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and saute on med or med-high heat for about 10 min, till softened and starting to brown and char a bit. At this point, add the 3 cups water or broth, chopped dill (reserve some for garnish), and cover to cook on low another 10 min or so while you prepare the toppings. See instructions below.
  • Remove 1/3-1/2 of the mixture and lightly blend using blender or food processor (or an immersion blender). Only pulse blend for about 5 seconds or so, to get the chunks broken down. Any longer can lead to the potatoes developing a gluey texture (not good). There is room for variation here, depending on how brothy/chunky you like your soup. I blend 1/3 of the mixture for a thick stew. Blend just 1/4 of the mixture for a thinner stew. Return to pot with rest of soup.
  • Add fish chunks and lower the heat to medium (so the blended potatoes don't stick) and cook covered for 5-10 min, just until fish is cooked.
Topping Preparation
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  • Slice the reserved mini potatoes into 1/8-1/4" thick slices. I used a knife but if you have a mandolin that works great.
  • Slice the jalapeno into thin slices as shown.
  • Place all three ingredients on sheet pan, drizzle VERY lightly with oil (about 2 tsp) and toss well to coat, keeping the ingredients separate from one another and spreading out so they are not sitting on top of each other. Roast in the pre-heated oven for about 10 min or until roasted and a bit charred.
Serving
  • This makes 4 small (not huge) bowls of filling stew. Distribute the toppings over the stew, and sprinkle the fresh dill and scallions on top as well.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg | Magnesium: 70mg | Net Carbohydrates: 26g
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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the simplicity of this stew and the fact that it gives really herby, veggie flavors, versus heavy or salty flavors I often get from fish stews, not to mention the fact that it’s a departure from tomato broth based fish stews.