Authentic Caldillo de Congrio Recipe | Chilean Congrio Fish Soup Recipe

Caldillo de Congrio, a traditional Chilean dish immortalized by the beloved Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in his ode to the sea, is a flavorful and comforting fish stew that captures the essence of Chilean coastal cuisine. Made primarily with congrio, a type of conger eel abundant in the waters off Chile's coast, this dish is a celebration of fresh seafood and bold flavors. Here's a step-by-step guide to preparing Caldillo de Congrio in your own kitchen, bringing a taste of Chilean coastal culture to your table.

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Authentic Caldillo de Congrio Recipe - Recipica

Ingredients of Caldillo de Congrio:

For the broth:

  • 2 lbs (about 1 kg) fresh congrio fillets (substitute: any firm white fish like cod or haddock)
  • 8 cups (about 2 liters) fish stock or water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for sautéing

For the sofrito (sauce):

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

For garnish:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions of Making Caldillo de Congrio:

1. Prepare the broth: Take a large pot and  heat some olive oil over medium heat in it . Sauté the chopped onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes to the pot along with the bay leaves, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and fish stock (or water) and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Let it cook for about 20-25 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

2. Prepare the Sofrito: While the broth is simmering, prepare the sofrito. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat In a separate pan. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Sauté about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and aromatic.

Stir in the paprika, ground cumin, and dried oregano into the sofrito mixture. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then remove the sofrito from heat and set aside.

3. Final Preparation: Once the broth has simmered and the flavors have developed, carefully add the congrio fillets to the pot. Let them cook gently in the broth for about 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and cooked through.

Add the prepared sofrito to the pot, stirring gently to incorporate it into the broth. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if require.

Allow the Caldillo de Congrio to simmer for another 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Serve the Caldillo de Congrio hot, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, and accompanied by lemon wedges for squeezing over the stew. Enjoy with some crusty bread or rice on the side to soak up the delicious broth.


Caldillo de Congrio is a dish that exemplifies the rich culinary heritage of Chile, showcasing the country's bounty of fresh seafood and aromatic spices. Whether enjoyed as a comforting meal on a chilly evening or served as the centerpiece of a festive gathering, this hearty fish stew is sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to the sun-drenched shores of Chile's Pacific coast. Embrace the flavors of Chilean cuisine with this authentic Caldillo de Congrio recipe, and savor a taste of the sea with every spoonful. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)

Additional Notes and Tips:

Congrio Substitution: If you're unable to find fresh congrio fillets, don't fret! You can easily substitute it with other firm white fish such as cod, haddock, or sea bass. While congrio adds a unique flavor to the dish, the stew will still be delicious with these alternatives.

Make Ahead: Caldillo de Congrio tastes even better when made ahead of time as the flavors have more time to meld together. You can prepare the broth and sofrito in advance and store them separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, simply reheat the broth, add the fish, and finish with the sofrito.

Customize to Taste: Feel free to adjust the seasoning and spice levels according to your preferences. If you prefer a spicier stew, add a chopped chili pepper or a dash of hot sauce to the sofrito. Likewise, you can experiment with different herbs and spices to tailor the dish to your liking.

Serve with Sides: While Caldillo de Congrio is delicious on its own, it's often served with accompaniments like crusty bread, rice, or boiled potatoes. These sides help soak up the flavorful broth and make the meal more hearty and satisfying.

Wine Pairing: Since white wine is used in the broth, consider serving a crisp, refreshing white wine alongside Caldillo de Congrio. A Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay pairs beautifully with the flavors of the dish and enhances the overall dining experience.

Leftover Ideas: If you happen to have any leftovers, Caldillo de Congrio can be easily reheated for another meal. Simply store the stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop until warmed through. As the flavors will continue to develop, it will make it even more delicious the next day.

By following this authentic Caldillo de Congrio recipe and incorporating these tips, you'll be able to recreate the flavors of Chilean coastal cuisine in your own kitchen. Whether you're hosting a dinner party or simply craving a taste of the sea, this comforting fish stew is sure to become a favorite in your repertoire. So gather your ingredients, channel your inner chef, and embark on a culinary journey to Chile with Caldillo de Congrio. Cheers to good food and good company! Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)

Some FAQ on Caldillo de Congrio:

FAQ 1 : Can I use frozen congrio fillets instead of fresh ones?

Yes, frozen congrio fillets can be used as a substitute for fresh ones. Thaw them thoroughly before adding to the stew, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

FAQ 2 : Is it necessary to use fish stock, or can I just use water for the broth?

While fish stock adds depth of flavor to the broth, you can certainly use water as a substitute if fish stock is unavailable. However, you may need to adjust the seasoning to compensate for the lack of flavor from the stock.

FAQ 3 : Can I omit the wine from the recipe?

Yes, you can simply omit it from the recipe if you prefer not to use wine. You can replace it with an equal amount of additional fish stock or water.

FAQ 4 : How do I know when the fish is cooked through?

The fish is cooked through when it becomes opaque and easily flakes apart with a fork. Be careful not to overcook it, as the fish can become dry and lose its delicate texture.

FAQ 5 : Are there any suitable substitutes for congrio if it's unavailable?

Yes, if congrio is unavailable, you can use other firm white fish such as cod, haddock, or sea bass as substitutes. While the flavor may vary slightly, the stew will still be delicious with these alternatives.

FAQ 6 : Can I adjust the spiciness of the stew to suit my taste preferences?

Absolutely! You can adjust the spiciness of the stew by adding more or less paprika, or by incorporating chopped chili peppers or hot sauce to the sofrito according to your taste preferences

FAQ 7 : What are some common side dishes served with Caldillo de Congrio?

Caldillo de Congrio is often served with crusty bread, rice, or boiled potatoes to soak up the flavorful broth. These sides complement the stew and make the meal more hearty and satisfying.

FAQ 8 : Is it necessary to remove the bay leaves before serving?

Yes, it's important to remove the bay leaves before serving the stew, as they are not meant to be eaten and can impart a bitter taste if left in the dish. Be sure to discard them before serving.

Recipe Card
Cuisine: Chilean, Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes, Total Time : 1 hour 30 minutes, Serving: 6 serving

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