Creamy Colombian coconut seafood soup
Cazuela de mariscos, a creamy seafood soup from the coastal regions of Colombia, couldn’t be more comforting during these chilly January days. I was inspired to make it when researching foods that are traditionally cooked in La Chamba clay pots (more on that here). While this soup typically has a trifecta of butter, cream and coconut milk for ultimate richness, I eased up a bit on the heavy elements. I also blended the soup base for a creamier consistency that I think lets the seafood shine. While you don't have to cook it in a clay pot like this, it does impart a unique smoky flavor that's hard to replicate. Any way you do it, it's warming, delicious and full of goodness.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like a little spice)
1 tablespoon tomato past
3 cups fish stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 bay leaf
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound halibut (or any other firm white fish), cut into bite-sized pieces and bones removed
1 lime, halved
Small bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
Small bunch fresh parsley, leaves chopped
In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm the coconut oil until hot. Add the onions, peppers, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the garlic and spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the fish stock, heavy cream, coconut milk, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the flavors all come together, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and season with salt, to taste. Juice half of the lime and stir in the soup.
Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until mostly creamy (a few chunks of vegetables is sometimes nice for texture).
Add the seafood, cover, and cook until the clams open up and the fish is opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and discard any unopened shells. Add more salt, if necessary.
Cut the remaining lime into wedges. Garnish with fresh cilantro, parsley and the lime wedges. Serve with crusty bread, if you have it.