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Smoked Mackerel Risotto with Peas and Chilli

My smoked mackerel risotto gets a sweetness from garden peas which are a great compliment to smokey fish & a hint of spice from chilli flakes.

It is a glorious simple but really nutritious and comforting meal guaranteed to shake up your risotto game.

Portrait image of a smoked fish risotto with peas served in a shallow white bowl

Smoked Fish Risotto.

That “last meal” thought game is one that many foodies have played from time to time and whilst my last meal may vary the core ingredient would not. Mackerel!

Seriously I love the stuff, fresh mackerel is hard to score here in Rural Hungary. As a result, I only have this cured mackerel and devilled mackerel recipe on my site.

But smoked mackerel is freely available, it is really very cheap and it tastes fantastic.

I use it in recipes as diverse as this smoked mackerel salad through to this smoked mackerel pasta.

Here it gets used in a classic risotto, lovingly stirred and lifted with peas, a smidge of lemon juice and a nice pinch of chilli.

It is not the first time that this ingredient has been used with rice here either. I have a smoked mackerel kedgeree that you must check out.

Portrait overhead image of a smoked fish risotto with peas served in a shallow white bowl

Buying Smoked Mackerel.

Smoked mackerel comes in two ways, whole and fillets.

I would advise using fillets for this recipe. For no other reason than convenience if I were to be honest.

Removing the fillets from a whole smoked mackerel is not difficult.

First of all you should remove the skin by finding a loose corner and pulling, it should come away as a single piece.

You need to run your knife down the backbone and then gently tease the flesh away from the bone.

I actually used peppered fillets for this recipe but you can use plain if you prefer.

Portrait close up image of a smoked fish risotto with peas

Hints and Tips.

It is vitally important that you do not add the mackerel too early in this recipe.

Smoked mackerel does not need to be cooked, so adding it at the end of the process presents no risk.

I just warm the mackerel whilst the risotto is in its final resting phase. This will just take off the chill and help it meld with the creamy risotto.

You may worry about a lack of flavour… Don’t!

Smoked mackerel is not like “the lahdeedah” salmon equivalent it has a huge amount of flavour and a little goes a very long way.

Just stirring this through at the end makes the whole dish sing of that wonderfully rich and smokey flavour.

But if you wanted to play around with a smoked salmon risotto this vodka tinged one looks great. I also have a fresh salmon risotto too!

Square image of a smoked mackerel risotto with peas served in a shallow white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Smoked Mackerel Risotto Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Glorious smoked mackerel is at the heart of this classic risotto recipe, it is joined by sweet peas and a pinch of chilli and squeeze of lemon juice to give everything a real zing.


  • 150 g (3/4 Cup) Arborio Rice
  • 500 ml (2 Cups) Hot Vegetable Stock
  • 175 ml (3/4 Cup) White Wine
  • 30g (2 Tsbp) Butter
  • 30g (1 Small) Shallot
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 150g (2/3 Cup) Peas, Defrosted if Frozen
  • 150g (5oz) Smoked Mackerel Fillets
  • 1.5 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt if required


  1. Dice the shallot and garlic cloves as finely as you can.
  2. Melt the butter in a wide pan over a medium heat.
  3. When the butter foams add the shallot and cook gently for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  5. Tip in the arborio rice and stir continuously for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Pour in the wine, again stirring continuously until almost all of the wine has disappeared.
  7. Add the chilli flakes.
  8. Add the vegetable stock little by little, starting with around 50ml at a time.
  9. Stir continuously for the first two additions and again cook until almost all of the stock has gone.
  10. After the first two additions, you can add the stock in 100ml portions and just stir it occasionally.
  11. Again wait until almost all of the stock has gone before adding the next portion.
  12. Gently break up the fillets into large 3-4 cm pieces.
  13. Once the risotto is nice and creamy and the rice is cooked add in the peas and stir them in.
  14. Layer the chunks of mackerel on top of the risotto, add the lemon juice and drop on a lid.
  15. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Between the mackerel and stock you should not need more salt but taste the stock and make a judgement.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 588Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 1187mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 25g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Sue R

Monday 11th of May 2020

It's strange, we have lots of fresh mackerel here in far north Queensland but the smoked version isn't very cheap. Guess I should crack out the smoker and make some one day, another thing I forget to use! It'd be pretty well to buy wild boar here as per your other recipe. Lots of them running around in the bush and get sent overseas.

Sue R

Monday 18th of May 2020

What do you think of horse? I had horse proscuitto in Switzerland. Didn't enjoy it. I tried out a recipe for making risotto in the pressure cooker this weekend from pressure cook recipes by Amy and Jacky. It was good! It had caramelised onion (I cheated and bought some in a jar) and peas. I'll do that with your mackerel version soon.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

It is very much the opposite here, as you may well expect due to the lack of a coastline, you never really know what you take for granted until it is gone. I used to eat mackerel probably once a week in the UK :(

As for boar, that is relatively new to me, I used to buy wild boar sausages or salami in the UK on rare occasions but had never "cooked" with it before I moved here. Now I use it quite often although don't write recipes about it often due to its relative scarcity in places where my website is popular.

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