A Louisiana Courtbouillon (COO-be-yahn) is completely different than the French Court-bouillon, which is an aromatic liquor or stock used as a cooking liquid. The Louisiana Courtbouillon, which is most definately a Cajun creation, is a thick, rich fish stew, brimming with Acadian flavors. There is a Creole style Courtbouillon as well, which is Whole Fish, usually Redfish, stuffed with aromatics, topped with lemon slices, then braised in Creole Sauce (future post). Here is my recipe for the Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon which is just pure, down home goodness:
Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon Recipe
1 lb of Catfish Fillets cut into 2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 Medium Onion, Julienned
2 Stalks Celery, Julienned
1 small Bell Pepper, Julienned
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14 1/2 oz.) or Same amount fresh from the garden if in season
Fish Stock, Seafood Stock or water to cover, about 2-3 cups
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
1/4 Cup Dark Roux
Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne to taste
3-4 dashes Peychaud Bitters (optional)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Hot Sauce (I use Crystal)
3 Lemon Slices
2 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
1/4 Cup Thinly sliced Green Onions
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice
Toss the Catfish with the Creole Seasoning and keep in the refrigerator.
Heat the bacon drippings over medium heat, add the trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) and saute until slightly wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Cover with the stock by 1/2 inch, add bay leaves, thyme, garlic and a small amount of seasonings, bring to a boil; Add the Dark Roux, cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Lower to a simmer, simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce, Worcestershire, Peychaud’s, parsley, 1/2 of the green onions, Catfish and the lemon slices. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. If the Courtbouillon gets a little too thick add a touch of stock or water, the consistency should be stewlike, not watery. Be careful when stirring the pot not to break up the Catfish.
Adjust the seasonings if necessary, remove the bay leaf and lemon slices. Serve over boiled rice and top with the remaining green onions.
Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!