A Book & A Bite: A Recipe from Jack Monroe

Posted on 24th August 2018 by Martha Greengrass

Published this week, Jack Monroe's Cooking on a Bootstrap brings together over 100 of her recipes for simple, speedy and cost-effective meals along with money-saving tips and advice. Here, we present a recipe from Jack, exclusively for Waterstones: a delicious Catalan classic with a twist.

Catalan-style white bean and fish stew 

by Jack Monroe 

This recipe is a very pared down version of a Catalan classic; in place of chorizo, I have used a hefty dose of paprika and garlic to give the same flavours for less. I would usually use 125ml each of water and white wine or light beer, but vary the proportions according to what you have available and can afford. The traditional recipe uses a variety of shellfish and freshwater fish; I have plumped for the humble tinned sardine, making this almost a store-cupboard recipe, and one that can be rustled up in a pinch. You can use tinned cockles, mussels, or white fish fillets, if you prefer.

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 large potato, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 tbsp oil

salt and pepper

1 tsp hot paprika

a pinch of dried mixed herbs

4 cloves of garlic

1 x 400g tin of tomatoes

125ml water

125ml wine or beer (optional)

1 x 400g tin of beans

200g sardines

a dash of lemon juice

Toss the onion, carrot and potato into a large saucepan. Add the oil and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes on a low heat to soften. Add the paprika and mixed herbs. Peel the garlic, leaving cloves whole, and add those too. Season with a pinch of salt and a little pepper.

Pour over the tin of tomatoes and add the water and wine or beer, if using. Drain and rinse the beans and add those to the pot. Turn the heat up and cook for 20 minutes until the onion and garlic have softened and the beans are starting to fall apart a little. 

In a separate pan, gently heat a little oil from the sardine tin. Carefully lift each one from the tin, slowly and delicately so as not to break them. Place in the pan and turn the heat up high to crisp the skin. Cook for 2–3 minutes then turn over and cook for 2–3 minutes more.

Spoon the soup into bowls, and top each with two crisp sardines. Dress with a dash of lemon juice and a little pepper, and enjoy.


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