Basque Tuna Stew (Marmitako)

This is one of my favourite “spoon-dishes”  when I have a day off.
The origin is in the Spanish northern coast, where the fishers used to cook this stew while tuna fishing, mostly during the summer.
There are variants in Cantabria and in France. In all cases the stew takes the name from the recipient where it’s cooked: Marmitako means «from the pot», Marmite in French, and Marmita or Sorropotún in Cantabria.




  • 200 gr. tuna, (without bones, skin and the darker parts)
  • 1 Kg. potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 green Italian pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 -5 sun-dried red peppers(1)  or 2 spoonfuls of sweet paprika
  • 2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced (a brunoise)
  • 1 l. fish stock(2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small cup of cognac or brandy
  • salt
  • olive oil


Dice the fish (2×2 cm). Peel the potatoes and dice them (2×2 cm). Peel and dice the onion, the leek and the garlic cloves. Clean of seeds the green pepper and cut it.

Fry lightly the onion, garlic, green pepper and leek with a few spoons olive oil. Add the potatoes and the sun-dried red peppers (or paprika if these are not available) as soon as the onion turns transparent. Mix well and add the tomatoes, the bay leaf and the fish stock. Add a little bit brandy or cognac and leave it cooking on a low heat until the potatoes are cooked but still firm. Check if it needs some salt added and add the diced tuna. Leave it cooking a few minutes and move it away from heat. Scratch the pulp of the sun-dried red peppers and add it to the casserole, discarding the peels.



1 These kind of peppers are typical from the Bask Country, La Rioja and Cantabria. If they aren’t available, sweet paprika is a good substitute.

2 Simple fish stock, without seafood


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