Chef John Folse’s Cookbook: Secret to Making a Good Stock

Add more flavor with this secret.


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Prep Time:
1½ Hours

Yields: 10–12 Servings

Although courtbouillon is best known as a flavorful poaching liquid for fish and shellfish, in Louisiana it has evolved into a sumptuous roux-based fish stew. At one time, redfish was the only ingredient used in the courtbouillons of Cajun Country, but now any firm-fleshed fish can be substituted. Just like a rich seafood gumbo, you can add any seasonal seafood such as crawfish or oysters to the stewpot.



6–8 (8-ounce) catfish fillets

1 pound (21–25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1½ cups vegetable oil

1½ cups flour

2 cups diced onions

1 cup diced celery

½ cup diced green bell peppers

½ cup diced red bell peppers

¼ cup minced garlic

1 (10-ounce) can RO*TEL®

1½ quarts fish or seafood stock

2½ tbsps lemon juice

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp chopped thyme

1 tbsp chopped basil

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Louisiana hot sauce to taste

1 cup sliced green onions

½ cup chopped parsley

6 lemon slices


Cut each fillet into 3 equal slices and set aside. In a cast iron Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a medium brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted, stirring often. Stir in RO*TEL® with juice. Pour in fish stock, one ladle at a time, until a sauce-like consistency is achieved. Add lemon juice, bay leaves, thyme and basil. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Additional stock may be needed to retain a sauce-like consistency. Sauce should be slightly thick. When seafood is added, liquid will be rendered and thin the sauce. Carefully blend in fish and shrimp, bring to a low boil and cook 3–5 minutes or until firm but not falling apart. Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and hot sauce. Add green onions and parsley then adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve hot over steamed white rice and garnish with lemon slices.

Recipe courtesy of Chef John Folse