Cajun Fish Court-Bouillon From Great-Grandma

Fish Stew

John E. Kelly/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 80 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
574 Calories
37g Fat
29g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 574
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 318mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 33g
Calcium 149mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This old recipe can be considered a thin fish stew or a thick fish soup. Fish court-bouillon (pronounced COO-be-yon) is the favorite dish of many Cajuns. It is unusual in that it is served with French bread rather than rice.

The original recipe called for a "pot spoon" of oil, which took some figuring out. After much testing, it became clear that a "pot spoon" is equivalent to 1 tablespoon.


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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat.

  3. 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.

  4. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, until onions are softened (or "withered" as Grandma would say).

  5. 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 a boil.

  6. 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).

  7. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread.

Traditional Definition of Court-Bouillon

In the strictest sense, a court-bouillon is a broth made by cooking various vegetables and herbs (a whole onion studded with whole cloves, celery, carrots, and a bouquet garni) in water for about 30 minutes. It's used for poaching fish, seafood, or vegetables and, in some cases, the broth is spiked with wine, lemon juice, or vinegar.

Since fish is added here to make a kind of Cajun fish stew, it is called a fish court-bouillon.

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