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Portuguese Fish Stew Recipe (Cataplana) by Chef James Ausden of Inside Out Restaurant, Slane, Co. Meath

Inside Out restaurant in the heart of the beautiful village of Slane, offers a warm welcome to our customers in cosy candle lit Mediterranean surroundings of trees and laurels. Our passion for food is translated into our menu focusing on freshness, flavour and colours, using local Irish produce with an inspired Mediterranean fusion to produce an array of mouth watering dishes that are different from the rest.

Cataplana takes its name from the copper domed lidded pan, that’s used in the Algarve to cook seafood dishes. It acts like a Dutch oven, sealed tight locking in every flavour of the cooking process. The Portuguese fish stew from the Algarve region took its name from the copper dish. 

This dish is a real seafood lovers dream, rich and bursting with flavour. Made with various fish, pork and a shellfish stock. You don’t need a copper pan, just a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. This dish can be adapted to suit your own taste by omitting ingredients for one you prefer, maybe chicken instead of pork for example. You can also add any fish to the dish but try to avoid smoked fish, as this can over power the flavours sometimes.  The whole thing about cooking is playing with flavours to suit your own pallet and this is a perfect dish to do that.

Shellfish stock


500g prawn heads/shells

1 onion

1 carrot

2 celery sticks

4 cloves garlic

1 tin tomatoes

1 dessert spoon tomato paste

1 red chilli

2 bay leaf

200 ml dry white wine

Sea salt

Black pepper

2 litres chicken stock or water

Olive oil


!.  Using a strong saucepan or pot, crush the shells / prawn heads with the end of a rolling pin and set aside.

2.  Heat a large pot with a drop of olive oil, add the prawn shells and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until starting to brown.

3.  Finely slice the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chilli, add to pot with the prawn shells and sweat until starting to soften.

3.  Add the remaining ingredients and cover, simmer gently for 30 minutes

4.  Strain through a fine sieve and reduce for another 30 minutes, put aside ready for cataplana.


Serves 2 to 4 (add a Langoustine for each person)


1 Tomato (diced flesh)

3 Cloves Garlic (finely sliced)

1 red chilli (finely sliced)

1 Red Pepper (finely sliced)

100g Cooked Pork Belly or 50g cured ham

40g Chorizo (sliced)

250g Fresh Mussels

80g Fresh clams

140g Hake or Cod

2 Langoustine

200g Prawns (shelled)

800ml Shellfish stock (as recipe)

110g Cooked waxy potato (cubed)

1 Parsley sprig (chopped)

1 Small hand of chopped fresh coriander (to garnish)


  1. In a large saucepan with fitting lid, heat a drop of olive oil and sweat off peppers, garlic, chilli and diced tomato.
  2. Add pork and chorizo and gently cook until the chorizo bleeds (oil starts coming from the sausage)
  3. Next add the seafood, potato and shellfish stock along with the parsley. Seal the lid and cook on a gentle heat for 10 to 15  minutes, making sure all the seafood is cooked through.

To serve

Portion into bowls and top off with the langoustine and fresh coriander. Perfect served with rice or just fresh warm bread.

Inside Out Restaurant

Chapel St, Slane, Co. Meath
Phone: (041) 988 4629

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