One Fat Lady’s Squid Stew

This recipe is one of my favourites.  An addictive stew filled with aromatic fennel, onions, spinach and tender squid.  The original version is from Clarissa Dickson Wright’s Potty cookbook.  For those of you who are too young to know, she was one half of the Two Fat Ladies: 2 eccentric and unapologetic cooks who created great (high calorie, buttery, salty, yummy) food on a BBC cooking show in the 90s.

I wasn’t expecting too much from this cookbook when I bought it – it seemed a little gimmicky. I was wrong.  The wide range recipes are delicious and easy.  I have not been disappointed with anything that I’ve made from this book.

Squid is a bit finicky to prepare – it has to be cooked low and slow (gentle braising) or hot and fast (grilling) otherwise it will be tough.

The recipe can be found at the bottom of this entry.

In Pictures:

Squid Stew Ingredients

Ingredients gathered together and ready to be prepared.

Squid Stew Squid Squid Stew Squid Initial Squid Stew Cut Squid Sauid Stew Tentacles

Cut the (already peeled and cleaned) squid into pieces. There is a cartilaginous structure just above the tentacles (in the middle of the last picture above) that is removed.

Squid Stew Mise en Place

Everything is laid out prior to cooking.

Squid Stew Aromatics Squid Stew Spinach

Fennel is sauteed in olive oil.  Onions, garlic, celery tops, parsley and fennel fronds are added before throwing in baby spinach (or kale).  The sliced squid and chopped tomatoes are added after the spinach wilts.

Squid stew final

The mixture is slowly simmered until the squid is tender, about 40 minutes.  No fluid was added to the pot – all the liquid comes from vegetables.  Salt and pepper were added throughout the cooking process with the final tasting just before completion.

I can’t wait to reheat this later in the week with a few chunks of slightly stale bread.

Squid Stew


  • 1 fennel, finely sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Celery tops/leaves from a bunch
  • fennel fronds (from fennel above), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bag/bunch of spinach
  • 4-6 Squid, skinned, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 4-6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • salt/pepper, to taste


  1. Saute fennel in oil until soft and translucent.  Adding a bit of salt will help draw the moisture from the fennel.
  2. Add onion, garlic, celery, fennel fronds and parsley.
  3. When the onion starts to soften, add the spinach, stir and cover for a few minutes.  You will likely have to uncover and stir a few times to allow the spinach to wilt.
  4. Add the squid and chopped tomatoes.  (If you feel adventurous, you can skin the tomatoes.  I find that is not really necessary for this and just chop the pieces so that you won’t get any big chunks of skin.)  A bit more salt and pepper can be added.
  5. Cook at a bare simmer for approximately 40 minutes.  At that point, the squid should be soft and tender.  Season to taste.

One thought on “One Fat Lady’s Squid Stew

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s