The Recipes

Red Wine Seafood Stew

This is the main course I cooked on Christmas Eve.  I got distracted by the other stuff I was cooking this week!  You'll have plenty of time to run by the store and get what you need before New Year's Eve or Day.  It's very simple to make, but presents beautifully at the table.  Serve it with some toasted bread to sop up all of the flavorful broth and you'll be a happy camper.

The biggest secret to success with this dish is making sure all of your prep is done before you start cooking - chop the leek, mince the garlic, and make sure to clean the mussels and clams.  A few tips: Squeeze the mussels and clams shut.  If they don't stay shut or have cracked shells, discard them.  Second, you really have to rinse the leeks once you've cut them lengthwise, or even after you've cut them into half-moons.  Dirt tends to get caught between the layers.

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Red Wine Seafood Stew

Ingredients:

- 1 leek, firm white section cut into half-moons and thoroughly rinsed
- 3 cloves of garlic, 2 minced, 1 peeled
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 c. red wine
- 1-2 c. seafood, chicken or vegetable stock
- salt
- pepper
- 1 T. olive oil
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 4 shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3-4 mussels
- 3-4 clams
- 1 crab meat cluster
- 2 oz. cod, cut into 2-in. pieces
- 2 slices of bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the leek and season with salt.  Let it soften for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper.  Next, add the tomato paste.  Stir it to combine and "wake up" the tomato paste.  After a minute or two, add in the red wine and let it reduce by half.  Add the stock and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

At this point, drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and put in the oven to toast.

Put all of the seafood into the pot.  Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes - until the clams and mussels open.  The cod and shrimp will be cooked through at this point.  Note: My fish counter here in Montana only had steamed crab, so it really just took a few minutes to heat through.  You can have your seafood monger steam it for you; if not, you'll need to cook it a bit longer.

Pour the stew into a bowl and serve with the bread alongside.  Garnish the stew with parsley and lemon juice.

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