Redfish Courtbouillon (Court Bouillon)

Donna Graffagnino


Court Bouillon (pronounced KOO-be-yawn, almost dropping the n sound) in classical French cooking refers to a poaching liquid flavored with onions, celery, carrots, etc. The Courtbouillon of Cajun and Creole country is a rich tomato sauce "stew" revered here for many centuries. In Italian cooking it's similar to a chunky Marinara or Red Gravy, but with the addition of a brown roux. I prefer to finish mine off in the oven to keep from breaking up the fish, but it can be cooked completely on the stove top.


★★★★★ 1 vote

30 Min
3 Hr
Stove Top


  • 3/4 c
    vegetable oil
  • 1 c
  • 1 medium
    onion, chopped
  • 1 medium
    bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalk(s)
    celery, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp
    garlic, minced
  • 2 can(s)
    15 oz stewed, rotel, or diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 can(s)
    12 ounces v-8 or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c
    white wine
  • 2
    bay leaves
  • 4-6 c
    fish, seafood, or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp
    fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 1 tsp
    fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 c
    worcestershire sauce, lea & perrin's
  • ·
    tobasco or la hot sauce to taste
  • 1/4 c
    fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • ·
    salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste
  • 2 lb
    redfish or snapper fillets
  • 1
    lemon, cut into thin wedges
  • 4
    green onions, sliced thin for garnish
  • ·
    chopped fresh basil for garnish

How to Make Redfish Courtbouillon (Court Bouillon)


  1. If you are lucky enough to have the bones of the fish, you should make a stock by boiling the fish bones with 1-2 quarts of water, 1 diced onion, 1 bay leaf and 1 tbsp of black peppercorns.
  2. In large heavy dutch oven, over medium heat make a roux from 3/4 C. vegetable oil and 1 C. flour, stirring constantly until medium brown. Don't cook too fast or it will burn.
  3. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper and sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. This will cause the roux to seize up; it's supposed to do that. Add garlic and sauté a few minutes more.
  4. Turn heat to low and add tomatoes and V-8 to the vegetable mixture and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add stock, wine, Worcestershire, hot sauce, basil and thyme; simmer for 2 hours - the longer the better, stirring frequently. (Put a splatter screen or lid over sauce to keep sauce from spattering all over your stove, counter tops, etc.) If necessary add more stock, a little at a time, to keep it from getting to thick.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper then add parsley, simmer 5 minutes.
    If you like your sauce chunky proceed to next step. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until it reaches the desired consistency. Be careful not to splatter the red gravy. This will cause the sauce to thicken so add more stock or water as needed.
  7. Bring the sauce up to a good boil, add the fish fillets, pushing them down into the sauce, being careful not to break the fish, cover with solid lid, and put into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

    If you prefer to finish it on the stove top, after adding the fish, cover with a solid lid and turn the heat off.
  8. Don't Peek! Let sit for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish. When fish are flaky and no longer opaque taste sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  9. Garnish with green onions, fresh basil, and lemon wedges. Serve over white rice with garlic french bread.

    *Options: Add 1 lb peeled shrimp. This sauce is good with any type Snapper or Flounder

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