CATFISH COURTBOUILLON

Catfish or Redfish Courtboullon (pronounced koo'-bee-yawn) is a traditional stew served over steamed white rice in Louisiana. [Court Bouillon is a term from French cooking that means a flavored broth, sometimes with wine or vinegar, that is used to braise fish or vegetables. The literal translation is "short broth" perhaps because it is cooked only briefly.] The recipe below is typical of home cooking in rural LA, while New Orleans versions may have additional ingredients such as fennel, celery, and carrots, and additional herbs such as thyme and bay leaf.

For a wonderful discussion of Catfish Courtbouillon, see the webpage on which I found this recipe. This recipe looks hotter than it is, but you can certainly reduce the cayenne if you prefer. I buy catfish filets and then cut them into chunks rather than buying it already cut into chunks, because I have better luck with the flavor and texture this way.

DO NOT STIR THE POT WHILE COOKING! SIMPLY SWISH IT OCCASIONALLY SIDE TO SIDE OR IN A CIRCULAR MOTION TO KEEP THE BOTTOM FROM BURNING. KEEP BURNER LOW.
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) water
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds of catfish (preferably Spotted, but Blue may be substituted)
Put 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a #14 cast iron pot. Put a thin layer of a mixture of all the vegetables but the green onions and parsley on the bottom of the pot. Follow with a single, loose layer of fish pieces. Sprinkle some of a mixture of the seasonings and some of the flour on top of the fish. Drizzle some of the tomato sauce and water over the seasonings. Repeat the layering process, adding more flour, seasonings, vegetables, and tomato sauce as needed until there is no more fish left. Boil, covered, over a very low heat for thirty to forty-five minutes. Add the green onions and parsley and cook for another five minutes. Serve over boiled rice.
YIELD: serves 6