Comment: 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 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil 1and 1/2 cups flour 2 cups diced onions 1 cup diced celery 1/2 cup diced green bell peppers 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers 1/4 cup minced garlic 1 (10-ounce) can RO*TEL 1 and 1/2 quarts fish stock 2 and 1/2 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 1/2 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 medium brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in ROTEL with juice. Pour in fish stock, 1 ladle at a time, until a sauce-like consistency is achieved. Add lemon juice, bay leaves, thyme and basil. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Additional stock may be needed to retain sauce-like consistency. Sauce should be slightly thick. When seafood is added, liquid will be rendered and thin the sauce. Blend in fish and shrimp then 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. Serve hot over steamed white rice and garnish with lemon slices.