One of those “only in New Orleans moments” happened on Sunday – as I was browsing the shelves of Academy Sporting Goods, an old friend walks up to me to say hello. After we catch up, I follow him out to his truck and he hands to me a gallon ziplock bag filled with 3 pounds of redfish and trout filets! I decided immediately it was time to make courtbouillion.
I mastered this dish years ago, and love to cook it whenever I get fresh fish. The pronunciation of the dish in south Louisiana is typically cou-be-yon. All I know is its delish over rice or with french bread and is a nice alternative to the usual deep fried fish filets. The roux of the courtbouillion makes it into a fish stew rather than a soup. I pulled out several pieces of trout to pan fry and the rest went into the pot. Here’s the recipe and the pictorial.
3 pounds of redfish (or any combo of fish will do), cut into bite size pieces
bones to make 4-5 cups of stock (remnants from the fish, 6 cups water, 1/2 onion, 1 stalk celery, couple cloves garlic, salt and pepper and simmer all for a couple hours)
2 chopped onions
1 chopped bell pepper
3-4 jalapenos chopped fine
3 stalks celery, chopped
Several cloves garlic (8-10) minced
1 bunch green onions chopped (save the green tops and add those at the end of the cooking process for color)
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato puree
Seasonings (oregano, salt, pepper, parsley, bay leaves, a couple spoons sugar to cut the acid from the tomatoes)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil (olive oil & butter works too)
In a heavy dutch oven or cast iron pot, pour oil and heat up. Add flour when oil is hot, and stir constantly over medium flame until flour browns. When the flour gets a nice medium brown, add in chopped onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux. Cook until vegetables soften. Then add tomatoes, stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for a couple hours. Add fish and green onion tops and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with rice.
I didn’t have the bones from the fish, so I bought a couple pounds of shrimp and made a stock from the heads and shells. It wasn’t as delicate as a fish stock because of the richness of the shrimp, but it worked in a pinch.
I sauteed the shrimp on the side and had a shrimp salad for lunch!
Meanwhile, I chopped the seasonings
the finished stock
for this dish, I did an olive oil and butter roux, more delicate than a cooking oil or bacon roux.
The cooking process of the roux, took about 10 minutes…
…then to stop the roux from burning I dumped in the seasonings.
I added a couple spoons of stock as the seasonings cooked down to keep them from sticking to the pan, then when they were sufficiently wilted…
…I added the tomato puree, tomato paste, sugar, stock and herbs.
I brought the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer and cook down for about 2 hours.
After it cooked down, I removed some of the sauce (to use with another batch) and the bay leaves, then added the fish…
…and the green onion tops for flavor and color.
You don’t want to overcook the fish or it will fall apart, so I cooked this for 10 more minutes, then served it with rice.