Eel Stew * Caldeirada de enguias…

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Cooking eel stew brings back the memory of summers long gone…”vacations” in Portugal in Praia de Mira, Barra de Mira, Vagueira, Costa Nova…inspired in the quaint seafood and fish restaurants and huts that ooze tradition…

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So if the words “caldeirada de enguias” bring back good memories… the stew is really easy to make:

Main ingredients
1 kg eel
6 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
750 ml water
potatoes – enough for 4
parsley or mint
turmeric (açafrão das índias)
Salt to taste

Ingredients for the lard mix
A large knob of lard
turmeric
Kosher salt
a dash (or two!) of whisky (I use whisky, DO NOT ask me why! I just know it works!)
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Washing and cleaning the eels can be a drag…hard work…got to really love eels to go through such an ordeal…so do not hesitate if you get your eels ready to cook from the fishmonger…I mean, tradition does have its limits…
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OK: once they are throughly washed, cut the eel into even pieces, slice the onions, chop the garlic, slice the potatoes and have all the other ingredients ready to set in the pot…
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Mix the “lard mix” ingredients and have them ready for the final touch of the eel stew…

Gently nest all the ingredients in a pot, leaving the seasonings, some onions and the herbs for the top layer..
Now let the stew cook on medium heat WITHOUT stirring, until the potatoes are cooked. Minutes before turning off the heat add the lard mix and allow to boil intensely for one or two minutes…

Seize…

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