Rustic Grouper Fish Stew

Grouper fish simmered in a smoky rustic tomato based sauce with carrots and potatoes.

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How does a warm and comforting rustic grouper fish stew sound? Amazing. This is one of those stews that you’ll be eating all year long, not just during the cold months. A mixture of fresh wholesome vegetables, like carrots and potatoes coupled with whole canned tomatoes give the stew its rustic flare. Moreover the stew comes together in under an hour and it’s easy to make.

To give the stew the best possible flavor, simply season the grouper fish with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once seasoned pan sear in extra virgin olive oil. At this stage the fish is undercooked. Not to worry, the fish will finish cooking in the stew sauce. This pan fried method brings in more flavor to the stew.

Besides extracting flavor by pan frying the fish first, this rustic grouper fish stew wraps itself in a brilliant spice mix. Additionally, to give it that rustic edge, canned whole tomatoes smothers the carefully selected vegetables. Carrots add a hearty texture and sweetness. Moreover, any type of carrots work. Example, purple white or try-color carrots. Additionally, potatoes add even more texture and serve to thicken the broth. Sweet potatoes, however, may be substituted.

What is grouper fish? What fish can be substituted?

Groupers are warm water fish with a wide-mouth and they are full bodied. Grouper is lean, firm with white flesh and meaty flaky texture. Grouper’s flavor is mild. A few appropriate substitution, includes halibut and black bass . Snapper works as well. Further, grouper are usually available from May through October. Whereas, halibut season runs from March through November. Depending on which state you reside, black bass season varies. Therefore, substitute the fish that is most widely available when making this stew. Any fish selection works perfectly.

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5 from 1 vote

Rustic Grouper Fish Stew

A warm and comforting fish stew that's easy to make. The fish is submerged in a delicious tomato stock with vegetables.

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Healthy, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword Best fish stew, Fish stew, Grouper Fish Stew, How to make fish stew, Rustic Fish Stew, Rustic Grouper Fish Stew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 403 kcal
Author Julietkitchen By Chef Yasmin



  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds grouper filets skin-on. About 4 portion sizes. See notes for alternative fish substitutions
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 medium onion yellow or white. Peeled and diced
  • 1/2 celery stalk diced
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 4-5 scallions chopped
  • 3 small or medium carrots peeled and cut up into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium or large Idaho potato washed and cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves freshly chopped


  1. Rinse and thoroughly dry the grouper fillets.

  2. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Using medium heat, heat the olive oil in a large enough deep saute pan.

  4. Sear the grouper fillets, skin side down for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the fish no longer sticks, carefully use a kitchen thong or fish spatula to flip. Cook the flesh side 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the fish to a plate.

    Note: 1) Be sure the oil is hot before adding the fish – this will prevent it from sticking. 2) The fish will be under cooked. It will continue to cook once it's added to the broth.

  5. In the same pan, sauté the onions and celery until translucent and fragrant. 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Add in garlic, scallions and carrots. Add spice mix – smoked paprika, ground turmeric and red pepper flakes. Season with pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. Add in tomato paste. Mix and cook 1 to 2 minutes.

  8. Add in potatoes, cinnamon stick and whole canned tomatoes with juices. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes to the size you want.

    Note: you can use your hands and break up the potatoes in a bowl then add it to the veggies.

  9. Add vegetable or chicken stock. Add bay leaf. Stir. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until carrots and potatoes are fork tender. 25 to 30 minutes.

  10. Add back the pan seared fish along with any juices it released, skin side up. Gently tuck them into the sauce. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the fish is fully cooked through. Turn off the heat.

  11. Top with fresh chopped cilantro or scallions. Serve over a bed of rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Can’t find grouper fish? Use any one of these substitutes: Cod, Halibut, Black Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi or Red Snapper.

Nutrition Facts
Rustic Grouper Fish Stew
Amount Per Serving
Calories 403 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 1243mg54%
Potassium 2015mg58%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 49g98%
Vitamin A 7470IU149%
Vitamin C 31mg38%
Calcium 181mg18%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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