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blue pot full of monkfish and rice stew, garnished with fresh herbs

Portuguese Monkfish Rice Recipe (Poor Man's Lobster)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Christina
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x



2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded

8 garlic cloves, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 bay leaf

1 cup short grain rice (Carolino, arborio, or similar)

1 cup dry white wine

3 1/2 cups seafood stock, divided

24 ounces monkish loin, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 cup cilantro leaves, diced

Zest of 1 lemon, plus wedges, for serving


1. To begin, dry monkfish pieces well with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. 

2. Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Once melted, add diced onion, green and red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and sliced garlic cloves. Saute for 3 minutes, until veggies are fragrant and beginning to soften. Add smoked paprika, salt, pepper, chili flakes and bay leaf and toss for another minute. 

3. Add rice and toss in the oil and veggie mixture, coating each grain. Add white wine and raise heat to medium high, cooking for about 2 minutes until most of the wine has absorbed. Finally, add 2 1/2 cups of seafood stock. Once the liquid has come up to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes.

4. After 20 minutes, add final cup of stock, lemon zest and seasoned monkish to the pot of seasoned rice. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Test the fish for doneness. Add cilantro and stir gently. 

5. Serve with lemon slices or lemon wedges, crusty bread and hot sauce.


While monkfish is the traditional choice for this dish, you can certainly experiment with other types of firm-fleshed fish like cod or haddock. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture will vary depending on the fish you choose.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Easy Recipes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Portuguese