official opinions: Peggy’s delicious Christmas Eve tradition and recipe

CioppinoEach family has its own holiday traditions, especially when it comes to food.  Every Christmas Eve Rachel’s family prepares a traditional Polish feast that includes potato pancakes, pierogi, oplatki and homemade corn chowder.  Jeff always makes an orange biscuit ring with his kids on Christmas morning while Stitely intern Bree and her family each make & share a special batch of cookies.  At Peggy’s house Christmas Eve means seafood cioppino, a delicious seafood stew.  Her son’s favorite dish, she began serving the stew on Christmas Eve a few years ago and it’s become a Latko tradition ever since. Tasty and different from the typically heavy Christmas fare, if you prepare the broth ahead of time this dish becomes quick to make & easy to eat after a long day of holiday errands. So when you’re thinking about what to serve this Saturday consider cioppino, then crank up the Vince Guaraldi Trio.  Happy holidays!!!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4  finely chopped large garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups fish stock; 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks OR 1 pound bay scallops


  1. Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrip are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.  Crusty sourdough bread great with this.

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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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