Cajun Fish Courtbouillon: Great-grandma's Recipe

Fish Stew
Fish Stew. Credit: John E. Kelly/Photolibrary/Getty Images
    100 mins
Ratings

This old recipe from my Great-Grandmother can be considered a thin fish stew or a thick fish soup. Pronounced "COO-be-yon," this is the favorite dish of many Cajuns. It is unusual in that it is served with French bread rather than rice. It is the only dish for which my grandmother had two different written recipes.

Grandma called for a "pot spoon" of oil, which took some figuring out on my part. I realized after much testing that a "pot spoon" is equivalent to one tablespoon.

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes (seeds removed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 pounds fish fillets--any fish will do
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Sliced French bread for dipping in the sauce

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. When the pot is hot, add oil and heat for a minute or so, then add the flour and make a roux by stirring constantly for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. It should be a nice medium to dark brown.
  3. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, until onions are softened (or "withered" as Grandma would say).
  4. Add hot water and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate water into the roux. Add tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and green onions and bring to boil.
  1. Add the fish, gently stir, reduce heat to low and simmer over low heat for 1 hour (fish fillets will break into pieces during cooking).
  2. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread.