Fish Chowder with Fresh Fava Beans

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

There is nothing better than a bowl of chupé on a cold winter night. I especially like this variation from Peru because it is flavored with hot peppers and, instead of peas, it uses fava beans. This chowder can be made with either fish or shrimp, or a mixture of both. Peruvians always add eggs before serving. They either stir in the lightly beaten eggs or put one poached egg in each soup plate and pour the soup on top. This is a hearty soup that can be used as a main course for a light supper.

NotesPreparing Fava Beans:

Fava beans (Vicia faba), also known as broad beans, originated in the Mediterranean region and were cultivated thousands of years ago in Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They are very popular in the Andean countries, especially when fresh. Fava bean pods vary in size, depending on the degree of ripeness. Look for pods that are firm, not spongy. The beans have to be removed from the pods, then either blanched in salted boiling water for one minute to remove the outer skin so they can be used in recipes for further cooking, or cooked for about five minutes or more, depending on the degree of ripeness, to be eaten plain. The outer skin is usually removed before eating, although some people eat the skin, especially if the beans are very young. One pound of fava beans will render one cup of shelled beans.



Total Timeunder 2 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationgluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturecreamy, hot & spicy, rich, savory, spiced, tangy

Type of Dishfish soup, hot soup, soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto or sweet paprika
  • 1 medium-size onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 medium-size ripe but firm tomatoes (about 10 ounces), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mirasol pepper puree, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups fish stock or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup long-grain rice
  • 4 medium-size all-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1½ pounds firm white-fleshed fish fillets (such as sea bass, monkfish, catfish, or halibut), cut into 6 pieces
  • ¾ cup shelled fava beans, blanched and peeled (see Notes), or fresh peas
  • 2 ears corn, each cut into 3 pieces, or 1 cup fresh com kernels
  • 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup milk, or more if needed
  • 1 large egg (optional), lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the annatto, onion, garlic paste, tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper puree, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, oregano, cumin, and sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened and the mixture is like a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. (Add a little water while the tomatoes are cooking if the mixture begins to get dry.) Add the fish stock and simmer for 15 minutes. The soup can be prepared ahead up to this point. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate up to overnight.

  2. To finish, bring the soup back to a boil, add the rice and potatoes, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the fish, fava beans, and corn and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the cheese and milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the milk is heated through. The soup should have the consistency of heavy cream; add more milk or water if it is too thick. (Keep in mind that potato-based soups thicken as they stand.) Taste for salt and white pepper. If using the egg, add in a stream and stir until it forms strands. Just before serving, stir in the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes, until they turn pink and begin to curl.

  3. To serve, in each soup plate place 1 piece of fish, a couple of shrimp, 3 or 4 potato slices, and 1 piece of corn (if using ears of corn). Ladle the chowder over these, sprinkle each plate with some of the remaining ¼ cup cilantro, and serve immediately.


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