Catfish Courtbouillon - Whiskerfish Dish That'll Have You Exclaiming, "Whoooo--EEE
Updated: Mar 12
This dish is pronounced coo-be-yon and is a favorite in Louisiana where it is often prepared with redfish and, occasionally, speckled trout. The first time Ken had a delicious redfish courtbouillon (sometimes spelled court-bouillon) was with Lafitte, La., with fishing guide Theophile Bourgeois. Later, J.P. Parsons, formerly with the Jackson County, Ala., Chamber of Commerce, whipped up a delicious catfish version for some outdoor writers. He readily shared his recipe, which he called Tennessee River Court-Bouillon.
With catfish being such a staple in Virginia’s inland waterways and good eating size fish (fewer than 5 pounds) available in abundance for much of the year, an adaption of both recipes seemed in order. We’ve shared this recipe with friends over the years and many who are the biggest fans of a fried catfish dinner say this catfish stew is now their favorite way to dine on whiskerfish.
Note: Sometimes Ken like to "Creole it up" a little more, in which case, a little more refined tomato sauce is added, a small touch of cream and a heaping helping (tablespoons versus teaspoons) of a favored Creole seasoning, often with a heat index slightly higher than the recipe below. Remember, though, you can always add heat; but you can't take it away once you fold it in. Other than that, the good thing about this recipe is it is hard to screw it up. Basically, you can add more of anything you particularly like. You might even add broth made from boiling blue crabs to your fish stock or chicken stock liquid if you want that extra flavor.
1/2 cup Butter
vegetable oil (a few tablespoons to use in pan-frying the fish)
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped shallots (green onion)
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon powdered thyme
3 cups canned chopped tomatoes
5 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I prefer Tony Chachere’s—Saa-sha-ree)
2 tablespoons paprika
4 cups fish stock or chicken bouillon
3-4 pounds filleted catfish, cut in chunks
1 cup burgundy or other red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Tabasco or other hot sauce (to taste)
In a large pot heat oil and sauté celery, bell pepper, onion, shallots, and garlic. Stir in bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, Creole seasoning, and paprika and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in stock and cook slowly 25-30 minutes. While cooking sauce, coat catfish with seasoned flour and sear in vegetable oil and a little butter on both sides on hot grill, lower heat, and continue cooking until almost done; remove and keep warm. When sauce has cooked approximately 30 minutes, stir in lemon juice and wine. Add fish and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Serve with hot fluffy white or brown rice. Add a dash or three of your favorite hot sauce if you want to amp things up! This is easily made on a stovetop or cooked outside on your favorite Camp Chef stove or grill.