Smoky Chickpea and Fish Stew

I had intended to make a kedgeree, but then felt way too tired for that many processes. A few weeks ago, trying to think about foods that might help make me feel better in various ways, I bought some smoked fish online from Pinney’s in Orford, Suffolk. I grew up nearby, and we often have their smoked prawns and mackerel pâté made from their fillets for Christmas etc.

Anyway, I bought a beautiful piece of smoked haddock as part of my online fish order. S mentioned the lovely salt cod and chickpea soup that Rachel Roddy once made us – which brought me to soup – and then I thought about taking it in a Spanish direction with smoked paprika. The resulting soup/stew was really sublime. Sweet and smokey, but quite gently so. If I wanted something richer, I would make an aioli to daube on top, or add a poached egg. I used half of the haddock for this – and Sam used the other half the next day to make an excellent kedgeree.

I used a jar of fancy 700g jar Navarrico chickpeas that I had been saving up for just such a moment – they are widely available online. Obviously, you can cook your own from dried, or use regular tinned ones which is what I typically use.

Ingredients (serves 2)

c. 150g smoked haddock cut into 1.5 cm pieces – remove any skin
1 onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed and finely sliced
1 level teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika e.g. La Chinata
700g jar Navarrico chickpeas, or 1.5 tins tinned chickpeas – reserve the liquid
a kettle of boiled water
3 tablespoons olive oil

How to make

In a deep frying pan or saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and cook for 5 minutes on a low/medium heat with a pinch of salt until softening. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it’s not catching. Then add the fennel and cook for a further 5-6 minutes until softening. Then add the smoked paprika and stir in. Then add the chickpeas, drained of their liquid (but keep the liquid) and stir well.

Then, add some hot water from your kettle so that it’s about 1cm above the level of the chickpeas and add 3-4 tablespoons of the chickpea liquid, which will help the soup/stew have some body. Simmer for 5 minutes, just bubbling. Mash some of the chickpeas with the back of your wooden spoon if you like to thicken it a little. Then add the pieces of fish to the top of the liquid and simmer gently, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, stirring gently at times. Don’t let it boil furiously and break up all the pieces of fish. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Serve in bowls – with a little olive oil drizzled over, a pinch of hot paprika if you like, and some toast rubbed with garlic and salt and oil, and if you’re feeling like something more intense, add a garlicky aioli.



  1. What an absolute treat to discover your work via Bre Graham’s ‘Just to Delight’ newsletter. Every recipe looks gorgeous and inspiring – I can’t wait to work my way through the entire back catalogue! xo

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