I love every type of soup or stew, and I recently discovered a lovely new one. It’s the best kind: one you can adapt to whatever is in your kitchen. I had a lot of winter vegetables on hand, like parsnips, turnips, potatoes, eggplant, and squash, so that’s what I used. I also happened to have several lovely filets of salmon, but you can use any type of fish.
This is a traditional Senegalese dish, and I based my adaptation on the Thieboudienne in Saveur Magazine, but obviously I changed it a lot. This recipe calls for the fish to be stuffed separately with a mix of chiles and parsley, but I just added those to my stew and made sure the fish was spread throughout the pot, instead. I also pre-cooked my rice and chopped my vegetables for quick cooking, instead of the more traditional African method of serving the vegetables almost whole.
I’d also recommend serving with some fried plantains on the side (or in the stew), if you can find them. Just sautee each slice for 2-3 minutes in hot oil — no need to coat or dredge the plantains, the natural sugars inside them create the crispy crust — then season with salt, pepper, and lime juice.
Thieboudienne with Winter Vegetables
- 1-2 large filets of flaky fish
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 of one large eggplant, diced
- 1 parsnip, diced
- 2 turnips, diced
- 2 small red potatoes, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 medium carrots, diced
- 1 head garlic, chopped
- 1 handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 can of diced tomatoes and chiles
- 2 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- salt and pepper
- lime wedges for serving
- extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
- 1 quart vegetable stock
Start by sauteeing the garlic and onion in a large Dutch oven, and cook until transparent. Add the potatoes, carrots, eggplant, parsnip and turnips, as well as the fish sauce, tamarind paste, and some salt and pepper. Make sure all of the vegetables are coated. Add the can of tomatoes and chiles, then the stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and let simmer for about an hour.
Add some of the fresh parsley (save a little for serving), the fish and rice, then cover and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked thoroughly. Flake the fish and make sure it’s mixed throughout the stew. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary* and serve with fresh parsley on top and a wedge of lime to squeeze on top.
*Use caution with salt, because the fish sauce adds a lot of sodium!
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