Monday, April 13, 2009

La Bourride Provençale

We had family from Scotland over for dinner Saturday night and in talking to them, I knew they’d been eating a lot of red meat this past week so I decided to do something with fish. It’s been really cold so a warm garlicky fish stew with potatoes sounded just right. Bourride takes about 3-4 hours to make but can be made in advance. Bourride is made with an aioli, and if you make enough, you can start the meal off with some crudités. I served it a few hard boiled eggs, asparagus, carrots and green onions.

La Recette

Marinate a large pinch of saffron in ¾ cup white wine while stock is cooking

For the Stock

Bones of 5lbs firm white fish (I used tilapia) (reserve meat for stew)

1 medium onion rough chopped

2 stalks celery rough chopped

2 carrots peeled and rough chopped

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs thyme

1 sprig rosemary

2 tbsp parsley

Peppercorns & Kosher salt

Place everything in stockpot, add 10-12 cups of cold water and simmer for 3 hours. Strain through cheesecloth, discarding boiled food, return to stockpot and simmer for ½ hour to an hour to reduce to 7-8 cups and flavor of broth is well developed.

For the Aioli

10-12 garlic cloves

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks

2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Mash garlic cloves to a paste, combine with egg yolks and salt. Gradually add olive oil, whisking continuously until all two cups are incorporated. Add lemon juice at the end.

For the Stew

Fillets from the fish

2 leeks

½ fennel bulb


Saffron wine infusion

1 ½ lbs small red potatoes

2 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

clean leeks by chopping in ½ and rinsing under cold water, making sure to remove the grit. Chop into ½ moons. Cut fennel bulb in ½ lengthwise, core and chop in ½ moons and then cut to size of leeks.

Saute leeks and fennel on medium low heat in 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan for 20 minutes or so until almost soft. Turn up heat and add saffron infused wine, cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Add 5 cups of the stock and let the leeks and fennel cook for 20 minutes more. Chop fish into 2 inch square chunks, add carefully to broth ½ at a time, removing when almost cooked. Put aside in a covered dish until ready to serve.

Wash and chop (do not peel) red potatoes into ¾ inch cubes. Cook in boiling salted water until firm but cooked.

Put 1 ½ cups of aioli in a large bowl, gradually add 1 cup of hot stock, whisking to combine. Add this slowly to the leek fennel broth. Add potatoes and bring to a simmer. Thin with more broth if a thinner stew is desired. Place fish in bottom of individual serving bowls, ladle soup over fish. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


  1. What a perfect stand-in for red meat! I'm sure they enjoyed it!

  2. yum. maybe its time for Chris to make this. (without the fennel though, sheesh.) looks good.