Booze on a budget

Joe Seaver checks his supplies in a Seattle liquor store, which offers many kinds of liquor at many prices. Sales in stores, which make up three-fourths of liquor sales, rose about 2.1 percent last year, an industry report said.

Matt McClain/The Washington Post

The dish is inspired by this classic Mediterranean trio of flavors. The broth is enriched with shrimp shells; the seafood is cooked separately and added at the last minute. The cod really shines here, with the shrimp a supporting player.

You’ll want to serve the soup with crusty bread to soak up the broth.

Makes 8 cups (8 servings)


4 ounces (8 large) raw, shell-on shrimp

2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

2 cups water

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons oil

2 medium (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total) fennel bulbs (tough green tops trimmed), cored and cut in half, then cut into thin slices, reserving some fennel fronds for garnish

1 large sweet onion, such as Maui, Mayan, Walla Walla or Vidalia, cut into thin slices


2 cups low-sodium tomato juice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salted or unsalted butter

8 ounces skinless cod fillets


Peel and devein the shrimp, placing the shells in a medium pot and reserving the deveined shrimp in a bowl.

Add the broth, water and wine to the pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain small bubbles at the edges; cook for 20 minutes. Strain the broth into a large measuring cup, discarding the shrimp shells.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are tender. Add the strained broth and the tomato juice; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat so the liquid is barely bubbling at the edges; cook for 15 minutes. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the vegetables in the broth; or transfer, in batches, to a blender to puree the vegetables. (If doing the latter, remove the center knob from the lid and place a towel over the opening to allow steam to escape.)

Return the soup to the pot. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of the oil and the butter in a medium nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cod fillets; cook for about 3 minutes on the first side, until lightly browned, then turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are done throughout. Transfer to a plate.

Add the shrimp to the hot pan; cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, then turn them over and cook for about 1 minute, until just opaque.

Divide the soup among individual bowls. Place an equal portion of cod into each bowl, breaking up the fish a bit. Garnish each serving with a sauteed shrimp and some of the fennel fronds.

Serve hot.

Nutrition per serving (using salted butter): 120 calories, 10g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar.