103 CREOLE BOUILLABAISSE | Hooks, Lies & Alibis with Chef John Folse | LPB
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Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Prep Time: 1½ Hours
Yields: 12 Servings

This is the Creole seafood soup that drew tribute from the famous English novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray. In his Roundabout Papers, Thackeray recalls, “In New Orleans you can eat a Bouillabaisse, the like of which was never eaten in Marseilles or Paris.” The reason is clear: the fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean Sea simply could not match the flavor and quality of those from the Gulf of Mexico, especially our redfish, snapper, crabs and shrimp. The word “bouillabaisse” comes from the term “to boil” and then “to stop boiling.” In other words, when the soup comes to a boil, immediately remove it from the fire and allow the ingredients to poach gently. This was the original technique in making the soup.

4½ pounds mixed fish, cleaned and cut into large chunks
2 pounds (31–35 count) shrimp, head-on
2 pounds live crawfish
12 crabs, cleaned
1 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
3 cups diced tomatoes
¾ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup diced garlic
4 whole bay leaves
2 medium carrots, diced
1½ tbsps saffron threads
1 gallon shellfish stock
2 cups dry white wine
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp dry basil
1 cup sliced green onions
1 cup chopped parsley
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste

In a 2-gallon stockpot, add olive oil. Layer onions, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced garlic, bay leaves and carrots. On top of vegetables, add saffron then layer fish, shrimp, crawfish and crabs. Place on medium-high heat, cover and steam 3–5 minutes. Add shellfish stock, white wine, thyme and basil and bring to a low simmer, approximately 190°F or just below the boiling point. Cook 30 minutes and remove from heat. Using a spatula, remove all seafood. Peel shrimp, crawfish and crabs then bone all meat from fish, discarding bones. Bring stock in pot back to a low boil and add all seafood meat. Reduce to a simmer, add green onions and parsley then season to taste using salt, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. To serve, place a generous portion of seafood in the center of a soup bowl and ladle over with hot soup.

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