There is a challenge in cooking for the family sometimes and sometimes a temptation to go for the lowest denominator which can then be had with great gobs of tomato ketchup. There are a number of different mouths to feed; two red blooded eaters, one vegetarian (who will eat fish) and two who really just want to eat chips. There is a temptation to end up cooking two or three different meals in an attempt to keep everyone happy.
This evening I was determined to do just the one meal for everyone. It would have to be fish and I figured on some sort of stew (courtesy of Moro) with a sauce that could be soaked up by rice.
A fish stew with sauce required some stock to be made and Wards provided a particularly disgruntled looking hake head that was perfect for the jopb. It was so big that I was half minded to roast it and then sit down quietly by myself to pick out the small nuggets of meat. As it as it got stuffed into a pan that was too small with the rest of the fish ends and made into a delicious stock.
The rest of the stew was a building up of flavours. Cooking a copped onion in olive oil until it started to give of its sweetness, adding some chopped fennel and letting that cook down and then garlic and two bay leaves and allowing that to cook until there was a sticky pale mess at the bottom of the pan. The stock was then added and brought to a very slow simmer whilst rice was cooked.
The rice had been standing in water for half an hour or so before being poured into a pan of boiling water. There was only a few minutes before it was done, drained and rinsed with more boiling water. Butter was put in the bottom of the pan with seeds from a cardamon and the rice poured lightly on top. A wrong end of a wooden spoon as used to make some holes. Rather than a tea towel I put a double layer of kitchen paper over the top to absorb the steam under the lid.
As the rice was settling I added the fish to the stew. Monkfish first, left for ten minutes then finely sliced quid and then shelled prawns.
It was more oir less a success. he chip eaters did not eat much of the fish but the said the sauce was great and mopped up the rice just right.