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Fish Stew with White Wine and Tarragon


Based on a Julia Child recipe, this delicately-flavored fish stew combines classic cooking methods and ingredients.

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Rate this recipe 3.8/5 (12 Votes)


  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, preferably with leaves, sliced (leaves chopped)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 generous teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1-1/4 cup chardonnay, plus 1 tablespoon (or other dry white wine)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (preferably unsalted—see Kitchen Notes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 pound halibut sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream



Step 1

Blanch the tomato. Drop tomato into a medium pot of boiling water. After 10 seconds, remove with a strainer and set aside to cool. You need the tomato near the end of the recipe, so during a break in the action, core and peel it, scoop out the seeds using your fingers and gently squeeze out any liquid from the tomato. Then dice the tomato; you should have about 3/4 cup.

Melt butter in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over low to medium flame. Add carrot, leek, celery and onion and toss to coat with butter. Cover pot and sweat vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to brown; reduce heat if necessary.

Add tarragon, 1-1/4 cup wine, broth and water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine cornstarch and remaining tablespoon of white wine in a small bowl, stirring until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of heated broth/wine mixture into cornstarch and wine, stirring constantly to keep it from forming clumps. Blend back into pot and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes. Fold in fish and tomato and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, mix egg yolk and sour cream in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of heated broth/wine mixture into it, stirring to combine. Gently fold into pot. Ladle stew into shallow soup plates and serve with a crusty bread.

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