Vegan Mexican Bacalao is inspired by the traditional Bacalao served during Christmas.
The first time that I heard of bacalao was on my first trip to Mexico City. When Hector’s family was preparing dinner on Christmas eve, I noticed that they were making something very usual to me: Bacalao a la Vizcaína. Bacalao is dried salted cod that is sold all over Mexico during Christmas time. Bacalao a la Vizcaína is a traditional dish with Spanish origins. The original Spanish recipe was adapted by the early Spanish settlers. They adapted the recipe to include local Mexican ingredients.
I have adapted the traditional Mexican Bacalao a la Vizcaína and created a vegan version that is completely fish free! Instead of using dried salted cod, jackfruit is used. The jackfruit simmers in a rich, flavorful tomato sauce. The Spanish influence can be seen with additional of olives, capers, and roasted red peppers.
Traditionally, pickled chile gueros are used; however, finding these peppers outside of Mexico can be difficult. You can use pepperoncini peppers instead, which can be found easily. This Vegan Mexican Bacalao is a little bit salty and sweet from the raisins. The brininess of the capers add a fishlike element to the stew. If you want the stew to be fishier, you can add kelp.
This Vegan Mexican Bacalao is a hearty stew perfect for the holidays. It also tastes great the next day since all the flavors have time to fully come together. If you would like, you can serve crusty French bread with the stew. I like to serve this with a salad on the side. My Mexican Christmas Eve Salad would be perfect for a Christmas dinner.
- 1 Pound New Potatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium White Onion, thinly sliced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2- 20 ounces Cans Jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
- 1-28 ounce Can Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- ¾- 1 Cup Water or Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tsp Oregano
- ⅓ Cup Raisins
- ⅓ Cup Green Olives, chopped
- ⅓ Cup Slivered Almonds
- 2 Tablespoons Capers, rinsed
- ½ Cup Parsley, chopped
- 3 Roasted Red Bell Peppers, diced
- 6 Picked Pepperoncini Peppers
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Add the potatoes to a large pot. Cover with cold water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just fork tenders. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep sided skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium hight heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the jackfruit and stir. Cook until the jackfruit starts to brown, about 7-9 minutes.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes and ¾ cup of water. Give everything a stir. Add the oregano, raisins, olives, almonds, and capers. Bring to a simmer than reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Use two forks to shred the jackfruit.
- Add the parsley, roasted red bell peppers, pepperoncini peppers, and the reserved cooked potatoes. Bring back up to a low boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- If too much liquid has evaporated, add another ¼-1/2 cups of water.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Since the capers and olives are already salty, you might not need to add too much salt.