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Caldeirada de Lulas ❦ Portuguese Squid Potato and Bell Pepper Stew

Caldeirada is a Portuguese and Galician (Northwestern Spain region) fish stew consisting of a wide variety of fish and potatoes, along with other ingredients. It is brothy , but not a soup. Traditionally it contains fish and/ or seafood, with potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and onion, in alternating layers. Sometimes, clams are the first layer, giving the broth a wonderful flavour, but also acting as a natural non-stick method, keeping the fish and potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You never stir a caldeirada, instead you shake the pan, back and forth, as to not break up the delicate fish.

Another important feature of a true caldeirada is that the ingredients, such as the onion, are not sauteed first. In Portugal almost all dishes begin with a "refogado", similar to sofrito, which consists of the holy trinity, onions, garlic, and bay, sometimes tomatoes, sauteed in olive oil until lightly caramelised.

This squid version is not as complex. In fact I do start with a refogado in my version and I substitute canned tomatoes that have been rinsed and drained, instead of fresh, (they are not in season), as they are always ripe and sweet. Bonus, they are also already peeled. deseeded and diced. Perfect.

Parsley or coriander work well. My grandmother would use parsley, but finish with mint. What ever you choose it will be delish.

I also recommend using a good quality homemade or store bought fish stock in place of water, for the broth.

Use a crisp, dry white wine, such as Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc or a dry sparkling white wine, would also work with this dish.

Nowadays, cleaned squid is available at most supermarket fish counters. Remember if you are buying squid to clean at home, up the weight, stated in recipe, by 50%, as after you clean them alot will be waste.

If buying frozen, Thaw in cold water, takes about 20 minutes and use immediately, or p