IHCC: Dia de Independencia-Celebrating with Seafood Stew~

15 09 2012

We are celebrating Mexican Independence with Rick Bayless this week in the world of  IHCC.  So we’ll be preparing some special dishes…party fare…

As I was scanning through MEXICO–ONE PLATE AT A TIME WITH RICK BAYLESS, I ran across a recipe for Seafood Stew…and it sounded perfect for what my mouth was wanting.  You see…I knew I had squid tubes in the freezer, and I had a 1 pound bag of “Marinara Seafood”, and I almost always have frozen shrimp of one kind or another…and the bag of mixed seafood had been calling to me all week.  My mind went to Mexican Ciopinno in about point 2 seconds.  Except, if you follow the link, you’ll see this recipe is NOW called Red Chile Seafood Soup…  Which made a lot more sense with the result I ended up with.

I’ll say it…I didn’t care for this as a “stew” at all.  To me, a stew has a rich, gravy-like “broth.”  I about panicked when I saw how thin the “stew” was…it was so very soup-like!   My mouth was all set for some serious depth of flavor, and this certainly didn’t have that.  It did have a light, delicate  flavor…almost too delicate.  There was a definite fishiness in my dish, as I used frozen products.  There just aren’t many sources of fresh seafood where I am.  We both felt it needed more tomato, and even though I added 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to the pot (to half a recipe), it wasn’t quite enough.  Even for soup.

Having said all that, what this has accomplished is I still have a yen for a Mexican style “cioppino” dish.  Therefore it will be back to the stove top to play a bit and see what I can come up with from this inspiration.  If I had time and the ingredients, I’d give serious thought to going back at it my way!

Which is not to say this didn’t have merit…it does.  My tomatoes might have weighed out differently bulk-wise.  I used a 16 ounce jar of canned, home-grown tomatoes (to a half recipe), which is usually enough, but…  I was skeptical that I’d cooked the tomato down long enough.  The directions called for med-high heat, which reduced the sauce quickly,  however I found med-high to be too high to reduce the tomato without scorching it.  I was fairly pleased with the appearance and flavor of that sauce before the calamari stock was added.  Thinking of this as a soup, rather than a stew, makes a lot of difference too.  I’d have added toasted shredded tortillas as a garnish, and maybe even have dusted it with some cheese.  Then, the cilantro.  But that’s okay Rick.  The inspiration is so tremendously appreciated!