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I want to make a vegetarian/kosher paella or Portugese fish stew! Help please!

Miri1 Jun 13, 2010 11:34 AM

I recently saw a delicious looking Portugese fish stew in a magazine. But it was loaded with musssels, clams and chicken broth based tomato broth. I keep kosher, and I'm also a vegetarian. That means no shell fish, no chicken broth, and no meat of any kind.

Does anyone have a recipe for such a dish? Or one for a kosher-vegetarian paella? again, no shell fish or meat broth, please. Also, no shark or swordfish.

Both paella and fish stew look like they could be great for serving to company, and I'm looking forward to trying something new!

  1. John E. Jun 13, 2010 01:41 PM

    I hate to break it to you, but vegetarian paella is just rice and vegetables, I don't know if that makes it paella.

    1. BigSal Jun 13, 2010 04:02 PM

      Penelope Casa's book, Paella, has a whole chapter dedicated to vegetable paellas (some include jamon serrano or morcilla, but can be altered). Some of the combinations include:
      Red, green, and yellow peppers with cheese, anchovies and almonds
      Spinach, chickpea and pine nuts
      Chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, scallions, red pepper, swiss chard and tomato
      Eggplant, olive, achovies and capers
      Zucchini, spinach, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, lima beans, mushrooms, peas, scallions and snow peas (this sounds great to me)
      Mushroom paella (mushrooms, leeks, onions and tomatoes)
      Green and yellow squash with pesto
      Garlic, potatoes and chickpeas (I've made this one without the morcilla and quite like it, but it is more of a fall/winter dish for me).
      If you are interested, I can paraphrase any of the recipes from Paella.

      Also, Ottolenghi's new book, Plenty, has a vegetarian paella. greedygirl has included a link to the recipe and included her positive feedback on the recipe. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7065...

      1. o
        OldTimer Jun 13, 2010 04:05 PM

        You might have some luck searching for vegetarian biryani. Indian cuisine could be your best bet. I don't think Spanish cooks think much about vegetarian paella.

        1. c
          cocktailhour Jun 13, 2010 04:54 PM

          A fish stew without fish? Paella is a rice dish, and I can see that with vegetables only. In addition to the suggestions already here, green bean, red bell pepper, and artichoke hearts is a classic combination. but fish stew without fish?

          2 Replies
          1. re: cocktailhour
            Miri1 Jun 13, 2010 05:51 PM

            Hey everyone! Thanks for the replies. I may go ahead and buy the book you mentioned. Those paellas sound amazing!

            Incidentally, there's no problem using fish. I am only limited to not using shellfish, shark and swordfish. Almost anything else is fair game! :)

            1. re: Miri1
              smtucker Jun 13, 2010 06:00 PM

              ah. You self-described as vegetarian which, at least around here, means no flesh at all. A fish stew is pretty easy. Step 1, make a fish fumet from the cages of your fish. I really like the fumet recipe from FISH: Without a Doubt.

              Once that is done and strained, sweat some onions in olive oil with salt and some herbs, perhaps some thyme for your first time out. Now, decide are you making a chowder or a stew? Stew.... then add some of the fish fumet, white wine, and tomatoes into the pot. Cube some potatoes. Add to the broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cover. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. Add the fish.... cut into even pieces. Drop into the soup and let cook for about three minutes.

              Simple and delicious. A main course soup. Serve with some crusty bread.

          2. h
            herring Jun 13, 2010 05:53 PM

            Miri is asking for fish stew recipes without shellfish, not without fish. You can still use cod, halibut or a mix of firm white fish. I'd just substitute vegetable broth and/or fish stock for the chicken broth and/or clam juice. I've never tried this, but popular substitutes for fish sauce are a little light soy sauce or fermented tofu; you could try either as a sub for the clam juice.

            Also, not sure if this meets your kosher requirement, but Trader Joe's has some vegetarian chorizo that's pretty good -- you can use that for the paella.

            1 Reply
            1. re: herring
              John E. Jun 13, 2010 10:41 PM

              How can you make a vegetarian dish and use fish? The last time I checked fish were not vegetables.

            2. t
              tastesgoodwhatisit Jun 13, 2010 08:51 PM

              If you don't have chicken or shellfish in a paella it really isn't a paella. It's sort of like making vegetarian chicken noodle soup or a virgin martini.

              For rice dishes, check out biriyanis or pulao or pilafs or risottos for alternatives.

              For fish stews, you have lots of options - use fish stock rather than chicken stock (make you own if you want), and leave out the shellfish. It will taste different than the recipe you are looking at, but will still be pretty tasty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                John E. Jun 14, 2010 08:34 PM

                "Virgin martini"? That's funny. It reminds me of a comment David Letterman made after he returned from quintuple bypass surgery. He took a sip of his now decaf coffee and said "...it's like drinking non-alocoholic scotch".

              2. d
                Diane in Bexley Jun 14, 2010 09:57 AM

                Confused - are you not a vegetarian but perhaps a pescatarian - someone who eats fish but not chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.?

                As to which fish to use, red snapper, salmon, cod would all be good. You don't want a delicate fish like sole, which would fall apart. Grouper would also be a good choice. Where do you live? Depends on what type of fish you have available. Also, vegetable broth can be tasty, depending upon the brand. Whole Foods or TJ's offers several options.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Diane in Bexley
                  paulj Jun 14, 2010 11:09 AM

                  Don't get hung up over the vegetarian issue. Being kosher is the most important thing for the OP. That means restrictions on things like pork (including choriso), shell fish, and fish without scales.

                  There are no strict rules as to what can be included in paella. Apparently the original countryside version used rabbit and snails, i.e. locally available items. Those aren't kosher either (I think), but they set the tone for the dish.

                  Traditional Spanish cooking has a number of quasi-vegetarian dishes for use during Lent and other Catholic fasting days. Chickpeas and other pulses are widely used. Salt cod is prominent in both Spanish and Portuguese cooking (and not just as a substitute for fresh fish).

                  There are also many Spanish rice dishes besides paella. Paella is distinctive in that it cooks the rice in a shallow layer, and is cooked till dry and a bit crusty. Other rice dishes are moist (melloso) or soupy (caldoso).

                  There is one Spanish rice and fish dish in which the rice, cooked in fish stock, is the highlight, and the fish itself is an afterthought.

                  I wonder is there are any sources on traditional Ladino cooking.

                  1. re: paulj
                    paulj Jun 14, 2010 09:15 PM

                    This dish where the rice and fish are served separately is called arroz a banda. 'a banda' is a Valencian term for 'apart'. The fish of choice is something small and 'trashy', better for making a fish stock than eating by itself.

                2. r
                  relizabeth Jun 14, 2010 10:33 AM

                  I make vegetarian paellas very frequently. This recipe is my starting point. For protein I add fresh skinned fava beans or eggs. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/din...

                  1. a
                    AmyRuth Jun 14, 2010 12:05 PM

                    My Mallorca-born friend gave me a family recipe for a fish paella. Essentially, you saute onion, garlic, green pepper in olive oil in a paella pan or big deep skillet . Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 cups rice and let toast a bit. Add 4 cups fish or vegetable broth, a few diced tomatoes, some artichoke hearts, and a pinch of saffron. Let cook until rice has just about absorbed the liquid. Add 1 cup frozen peas. Meanwhile, saute 2 lbs assorted fish (she says to use at least 2 different kinds, 3 is best) in a skillet very briefly to just brown the exterior. Lay the fish on top of the rice, and continue heating until there's a bit of char on the bottom layer of rice. Serve with lemon. This makes a huge amount, but I've also halved the proportions for family meals.

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