Friday, March 5, 2010

Cajun Coubion - Courtbouillon

A Deep South Courtbouillon is a roux-based fish stew, made with creole tomato sauce, stewed down and reduced, and used to poach fish - often redfish, red snapper or catfish.

Cajun Coubion - Courtbouillon

A court bouillon is a French poaching stock made from water and typical stock veggies - onion, carrots, celery - in which generally fish is cooked. But that's the French.

Down here in The Deep South, Courtbouillon {pronounced COO-bee-YON or COO-bee-ON} is a sort of roux-based, creole tomato sauce, stewed down and reduced, and most commonly used to poach redfish, though red snapper or catfish are fairly traditional also. If you enjoy fish, this is a great dish for Lent, that is somewhat similar to Bouillabaisse, though I side with Marcelle Bienvenu, Times Picayune contributor, and author of the fantastic Cajun/Creole cookbook and a top favorite in my personal collection, Who's Your Mama,Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?

She and I both agree that in most Cajun Courtbouillon, the fish is added in the last minutes of cooking, and only right on the top, then covered over and gently poached, where in a Bouillabaisse, the fish is laid between layers of sauce, and slow simmered for a much longer time. Very often other seasonal seafood, such as oysters, crawfish and shrimp are also added to both Bouillabaisse and Courtbouillon. It's a great recipe to use some of that microwave roux from yesterday's post.

For Courtbouillon, since the fish is poached right on top of the creole sauce, many types will work, so substitute your favorite fairly firm, white fish, such as grouper, trout, cod, or tilapia.

Once the fish is poached through, carefully ladle it into a deep soup bowl, over steaming rice.  Add a nice, mixed garden salad, a wedge of lemon, some fresh, hot French bread and always, hot sauce to pass at the table.

Recipe: Cajun Coubion - Courtbouillon

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 cups of homemade seafood stock*
  • 2/3 cup of roux
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (1 pound 12 ounce) can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 2 to 3 pounds of redfish, red snapper, or catfish, cleaned
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Green onion, to garnish
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish
  • Hot, cooked rice
  • Hot pepper sauce, for the table
  • Lemon wedges

Warm the seafood stock and set aside. In a large, heavy, lidded pot, warm up the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you haven't already, add the onion, celery and bell pepper to the roux and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Using kitchen shears, chop the tomatoes in the can, and add to the roux and veggies. Add the Rotel tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Stir in the warmed seafood stock and add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about one hour, or until nicely reduced and thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Add the fish (and other seafood if using) to the top of the sauce, sprinkle it with a bit of salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish is poached and cooked through. Don't stir!

Once the fish is poached through, carefully ladle the courtbouillon into a deep soup bowl, over steaming rice. Add a nice, mixed garden salad, a wedge of lemon, some fresh, hot French bread and always, hot sauce to pass at the table.

Cook's Notes: Can substitute 1 (32 ounce) container of commercial seafood stock (like Kitchen Basics), chicken or vegetable broth, or plain water. Substitute your favorite fairly firm, white fish, such as grouper, trout, cod, or tilapia.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on March 5, 2010
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  1. First of all, I have to get that book you mentioned, if nothing else because I love the title! And second of all, this fish sounds perfect!

  2. This dish sure looks good Mary.

  3. nice color and me got to try this..that too soon...

  4. I've not heard of this before Mary, but it sure looks delicious! Any dish that contains Rotel tomatoes has got to be good.

  5. Very educational for me. I didn't know the difference as you explained. I hate fish but do occasionally make it for others.

  6. Nice recipe Mary, I love fish. Such explicit instruction, no real room for error. Thanks!

  7. whoop whoop

    OK, I found a fish store here!!!

    And now I am collecting these ideas... It is lent season for my wife, so fish gets her closer to heaven (or something like that, I don't quite understand that whole thing, but i digress)

    Great recipe

  8. What a gorgeous dish! I can only imagine how flavorful it must taste. Hope you're having a lovely weekend down South!

  9. Courtboullion is new to this Yankee, so I appreciate the education today. :) This looks delicious!

  10. Marcelles, Catahoula Courtbouillon recipe is the one that use....more or less. Love me some coobeeyawn.

  11. Hi Mary,

    GREAT food ! I did it ! The Microwave roux plus onion, selery and bell pepper. Then the Cajun Courtbouillon. Added cod and shrimps. All this not common in Belgium , but , I love the South ! Thank you for the best website in the world !

    All the best from Belgium.

  12. Yay Michael - so glad you gave it a shot!! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave such a sweet comment too!

  13. I love to cook, and I modify most recipes, this is the only one I actually follow, although I do make and love the process involved with the fresh cast iron, stove top roux. My family is always so impressed, and I am so incredibly proud to serve this meal, it's one of my signature dishes, and I am often asked to make it for special occasions. Thank you!

  14. This is wonderful news - that you so much for taking the time to pop back by and let me know it has become a signature dish from your kitchen!!

  15. I tried to use a jarred roux....way too dark!! Will definitely try the microwave roux next time!

  16. my x mother in law was pure Louisana French Cajun and Cathlic, and a wonderful cook, she used to make this with fish and it was awesome. I truely recommend this dish to anyone. You will like it.

    1. Thank you so much for leaving this comment! Sometimes the idea of a fish stew kinda makes even people who like fish think it's odd, so I appreciate the positive comment - thanks!!

  17. my x motherinlaw used to fix this,, she was a pure French Louisana Cajun and catholic. She was a wonderful cook. I recommend this to anyone and ya will love it..

  18. I used 2 pounds of black drum,came out real well,,thank you.

  19. Im from new orleans born and raised, never made courtboullion but when i read your shrimp creole recipe i knew you knew what you were doing! Will try this out. Are you from new orleans???

    1. Hi Kia! I am from the Mississippi Gulf Coast which as you know is not far from New Orleans and is a regular short road trip for many Mississippi residents, although I also did live over there for several years in my 20s. I don't know that a lot of folks make this anymore but it's really good. I hope that you enjoy giving the courtbouillon a try too!

  20. Hi im from new orleans born and raised, was so embarrassed not knowing how to make courtbouillon, when i read your shrimp creole recipe i knew you knew what you were doing, so i'll be trying this with catfish if course.. are you from new orleans???

  21. Had it as a young girl. Now I can make it!! Thank you very much and yes it taste so good. Bring back memories

    1. You're welcome - please let me know what you think if you try it!

  22. I love this recipe. I use olive oil for the roux (Justin Wilson). I use frozen baby clams in juice, shrimp and cod. So glad I found this. Thank you.

    1. Mary, I am looking to make a "stress-free" meal for New Years Day, and this is my choice. I'm going over the list of ingredients, and I can almost taste this dish!! I have a good fish monger, so fresh fish will not be a problem. I can still make some black-eye peas and greens in keeping with "tradition", but I can make them ahead of time. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe, Mary.

    2. You're welcome Toni - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  23. My grandmother fries hers a little so the fish doesn't fall apart. This is my favorite dish and when I go home to Lafayette next month I'll have her show me how to make it the way she does. I do appreciate yours as well! Thanks mossier

  24. I made this verbatim with some Socalay used their backbones to make the stock, served it with garlic French bread, my friends were bug eyed gaga over it.
    It really is an excellent recipe as is - no wait - it did say 4 cloves garlic right? ;-)

    1. LOL, love it! Garlic is sorta subjective. I think it's tasty with 2 but I do love me some garlic, so I'd easily go for 4 myself!! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed the recipe and truly appreciate you swinging back by to let me know. It's not only helpful to the other readers here, but I also really appreciate the input - thank you!


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