This Instant Pot Fish Stew is healthy, delicious and easy to make! White fish is cooked in a delicate wine and fennel broth for an amazing dinner ready in 30 minutes. Perfect if you are try to add more fish to your diet or just enjoy a tasty meatless dinner during Lent.
Stew is one of the best things to make in the Instant Pot, since a pressure cooker lets you make a rich and comforting Mediterranean style stew that doesn’t need to simmer all day long.
This stew is a delicately flavor stew with a hint of sweetness from the fennel. Many fish stews are tomato based, but while this stew has tomatoes they are not the primary flavor.
Cooking Fish in the Instant Pot
Fish cooks very quickly, so it isn’t really necessary to pressure cook fish. In this recipe the fish, even if frozen, is added at the end after pressure cooking and will cook in just a few minutes.
The advantage of using the Instant Pot in this recipe is cooking the broth and vegetables at high pressure. Pressure cooking allows the broth to develop a rich, deep flavor in just a few minutes.
So even though the fish isn’t pressure-cooked, using the Instant Pot makes this an easy weeknight stew that comes together fast.
Why You Will Love this Fish Stew
- Eating fish is healthy, and this is a great way to add some seafood to your meals.
- This is a great stew for a meatless meal during Lent.
- The rich and warm flavor seems like something that has been cooked all day instead of a quick 30-minute dinner.
- Fish – I like to use cod in this recipe, but any boneless, white fish such as haddock, pollock or flounder works well. Fresh or frozen fish works in this recipe. You can also make this with shellfish like mussels.
- Fennel – Fennel isn’t an everyday ingredient but isn’t hard to find either. Fennel has distinctive yet subtle licorice-like flavor and it really, really enhances the flavor of this stew. I’ve made it without fennel in the past and it just isn’t as good. So buy some fennel even if you’ve never used it before. You are using the fennel bulb, not the leafy fronds.
- Clam juice – A bottle of clam juice flavors the broth.
- Wine – White wine goes well with the fennel and adds flavor to the stew. But you can substitute broth if you don’t like to cook with wine.
- Tomatoes – I prefer to use fresh tomatoes in this recipe. If you use canned tomatoes, drain them before using or the tomato flavor will be too strong.
- Red peppers, onions, garlic – These vegetables add to the broth and make the stew a healthy dinner choice
Step by Step Instructions
Put the Instant Pot on Saute and add some oil to it when it gets hot. Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes until it softens.
While the onion cooks, chop up the fennel bulb. To cut fennel, cut off the root end, remove the hard outer layers and chop it as you would an onion.
Check out this blog post for step-by-step instructions on chopping fennel. Add the fennel and garlic to the Instant Pot and saute them for about 2 minutes.
Turn the Instant Pot off and add a cup of water to it. Stir it to deglaze, making sure there are no bits of onion or fennel stuck to the bottom. This will decrease the chances of getting a Burn error.
3. Pressure Cook
Add all the rest of the ingredients except the fish or shellfish to the Instant Pot. This includes the red peppers, tomatoes, wine, clam juice, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.
If you are using canned tomatoes, drain them before adding them to the Instant Pot. Then put the lid on the Instant Pot, checking to ensure the sealing ring is in place and the pressure valve is closed.
Set the pressure cooker to Manual, high pressure, for 5 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure.
4. Add Fish
While the pressure cooker works, chop the fish into bite-size pieces. You can make this either fresh or frozen fish, although it is a little more difficult to chop frozen fish.
Once the pressure cooker is done, release the pressure manually and turn the pressure cooker back to Saute. Then add the fish and replace the lid.
If the fish is fresh, let it cook for 2 minutes. If it is frozen, let it cook for about 5 minutes. The stew is done when the fish flakes easily.
How to Serve
Turn the Instant Pot off, remove the lid and let the soup cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. This stew is delicious, especially served with crusty bread for dipping into the broth.
How to Store
This stew keeps well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. To serve leftovers, heat it up slowly over low heat, so the fish doesn’t overcook.
I haven’t tried to freeze this stew, and I don’t think it would freeze very well. In my experience, cooked fish doesn’t hold up well to freezing.
You could, however, make the broth and freeze that, and then add fish or shellfish after thawing and reheating the broth.
This recipe also works well with shellfish, like mussels or clams. Just add the well-cleaned shellfish to the Instant Pot after cooking instead of fish.
Put the lid on and let them cook for 5 minutes, stirring once until most of them have opened. Discard any that didn’t open and serve.
You can also combine half fish and half shellfish for a varied and tasty seafood stew.
Making on the Stove Top
This recipe is also delicious if cooked on the stovetop, it just takes a little longer. To cook it on the stovetop instead of pressure cooking it for 5 minutes, cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Then add the fish to the stew as directed and cook the fish as directed above.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, white parts chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (drain if using canned)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounce bottle clam juice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 1/2 pounds white fish like cod, haddock or flounder, diced
- Turn the Instant Pot on saute and add the oil. After a couple minutes add the onion and saute for 5 minutes to soften.
- Chop white part only of the fennel bulb. Add it to the Instant Pot along with the garlic and stir for 2 minutes.
- Turn the pressure cooker off. Add the cup of water to the Instant Pot and stir it to deglaze. Scrape the bottom of it with a wooden spoon to release any bits of onion or fennel that are stuck to the bottom. This decreases the chances of getting an Instant Pot Burn error.
- Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, clam juice, wine, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes to the Instant Pot and stir. This is everything except the fish.
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker, making sure the sealing ring is in place and the valve closed. Set it on Manual, high pressure, for 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for it to reach pressure.
- Once it is done cooking release the pressure manually and take the lid off. Turn it to Saute again and add the fish. Put the lid back on and let it cook for 2 minutes for fresh fish and 5 minutes for frozen.
- Serve with crusty bread.
Making with Shellfish
You can also make this with shellfish, like mussels. Just add them to the pressure cooker instead of the fish and let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once. Discard any that don't open.
Make on the Stove Top
To make this on the stove top follow the directions as indicated, but instead of pressure cooking let the mixture simmer, covered, on the stove for about 30 minutes. Then add the fish as directed.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 551Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 1097mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 66g
Nutrition facts are estimates.