Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Pirate's Potato, Cod, and Garbanzo Bean Stew with Saffron for Cook the Books Club's Oct/Nov Pick: Cinnamon and Gunpowder and Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It's been an age since I actually made a soup on Sunday. Busy life, a general funk and laziness, mostly. This week I am back in the kitchen with this Potato, Cod, and Garbanzo Bean Stew with Saffron, inspired by our Cook the Books October/November selection Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown, hosted by Claudia of Honey from Rock.

Pirate stories are usually fun and Cinnamon and Gunpowder is no exception. Owen Wedgewood, a chef is kidnapped by the captain of a ruthless band of pirates, Mad Hannah Mabbot. Mabbot will spare his life if he cooks a delicious meal for her every Sunday. Although the provisions and kitchen on the ship are not to the chef's usual standards, and he tries to escape at every turn, Wedgewood manages to make some unique and delicious dishes as the pirates are chased by a crafty privateer and comes to appreciate the crew and even his captor captain. 

It's a relatively quick read and I was surprised at all of the food mentioned. I didn't immediately take a shinning to the overly picky and pious Wedgewood, but I grew to enjoy him, the crew and Captain Mabbot and enjoyed the journey. 

There was so much food in the book, not all of it appetizing but very interesting like how Wedgewood makes a sort of sourdough starter to make bread and his fermenting of cabbage for sauerkraut and turning corn into hominy. Some things I did want to try--if I ate meat, the basil-beef broth, and duck with cherry glaze. Other food--the daily gruel, "patch,"--a mixture of wine, tea, lime juice, ground cloves and water that the crew drinks. There was fish and seafood aplenty of course and dried treats like figs and tomatoes, and all kinds of fresh tropical fruits and exotic foods. I especially loved when Wedgewood was introduced to miso from a Japanese fishing boat!

Ultimately, I decided to mix a few different ingredients and things that caught my eye in the book into a hearty stew for my bookish dish. For the first dinner Wedgewood cooks, he mashes and dries a potato on the hearth and uses it to crust some cod. There is mention of cocido "a dish too sublime to be called bean stew" that an online search mentioned the use of garbanzo beans. Then there was saffron, the favorite spice of Wedgewood's late wife, that he wears around his neck in a pewter locket. I combined those with a few other ingredients into a stew, thickened with dried potatoes and made rich with coconut milk and spices. 

Potato, Cod and Bean Stew with Saffron
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6)

2 Tbsp butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pinch saffron threads
6 cups broth, chicken or light veggie (I used non-chicken broth base)
1 bay leaf
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup dried potato flakes 
1 lb baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered depending on size
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1 lb cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
sea salt and coarsely ground pepper
chives or other herb for garnish

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until tender and onions start to turn translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, flour and saffron threads, and sauté another 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the broth and whisk until smooth, then add the rest of the broth and the herbs, the potato flakes, potato pieces, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are almost cooked through. Stir in cod, cover pot and cook about 6 minutes and add add coconut milk, cooking another 2 minutes until fish flakes easily and soup is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve in bowls, garnished with chopped chives or other herbs of choice.

Notes/Results: Thick, hearty and satisfying with a sunny flavor and color, you can call this a soup, chowder or stew. The coconut milk, flour and potato flakes thicken it up to a nice stew--although you could omit and make it a brother bowl. You could also add additional vegetables if you have them available in your pirates larder. It's much simpler than Chef Wedgewood would have made but I like the fact that the delicate exotic saffron and cod shine through. I would happily make it again. 

The deadline for this round is Tuesday (11/30/21), and Claudia will be rounding up the entries for Cook the Books on the website in a day or two. If you missed this round and you like books and food and foodie books, join us for our December/January pick hosted by Debra (Eliot's Eats), Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger.

Now let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here:

Melynda of Scratch Made Kitchen shares her Easy and Delicious Beef and Vegetable Soup, saying "Busy times require easy-to-make meals. And this time of year, you just can't go wrong with soup! This Easy and Delicious Beef and Vegetable Soup is just the recipe you need. It makes enough for dinner tonight and some to tuck away in the freezer for another day. And did I mention there are lots of vegetables in this soup? Simply add some bread and butter on the side and fresh fruit for dessert.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup and says, "Just because I am in Florida doesn't mean the temperatures are always warm . A hearty soup is always welcome, no matter the weather, but this particular soup is a definite keeper. Creamy chicken gnocchi soup can be whipped up with a few pantry staples such as canned broth, gnocchi and spices and a package of chicken."

Thank you Tina and Melynda for joining me this week! 

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
  • Although we are pretty wide on what defines a soup, sandwich or salad, entries that are clearly not in the same family (ie: desserts, meats, random main or side dishes that aren't salads, etc.) are meant for another round up and will be deleted. 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I'm up for that hearty chowder! Perfect for our cooler weather. It would be lovely if we could get some fresh cod here, though it seems to come through fine frozen.

  2. I'm up for that hearty chowder! Perfect for our cooler weather. It would be lovely if we could get some fresh cod here, though it seems to come through fine frozen.

  3. I'm up for that hearty chowder! Perfect for our cooler weather. It would be lovely if we could get some fresh cod here, though it seems to come through fine frozen.

  4. I meant to read that book. My organizational skills are lacking lately. I did not want to miss joining for Souper Sunday but I didn't do a homemade dish. Please accept my Dal Makhani even if it is a store bought :-)

  5. What a lovely dish you made, Deb. With the chilly weather here, I'd love to sit down to a bowl of it :)

  6. Other than the cod, I would totally be up for this stew. Would warm the bones on one of our Eastern winter nights


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