Friday, March 24, 2017

508. Court-bouillon.*

Take three carrots, four onions, six shallots, and two roots of parsley, which pick and wash. Mince them. Put a small lump of butter into a stewpan, with the above roots, and fry them till they begin to get brown. Moisten next with two bottles of red wine, a bottle of water, a handful of salt, some whole peppercorns, and a bunch of parsley and green onions, seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, sweet basil, cloves, &c.

Let the whole stew for an hour, and then strain it through a sieve, to use as occasion may require. If you should have no wine, put in some vinegar. The court-bouillon is better after having been served several times than on the first day. It is excellent for stewing crawfish. Any wine will do for
the court-bouillon, even if sour. It is a famous thing for stewing crawfish.

* This is a very proper dish for a Roman Catholic family during Lent. It is always good; only add a glass of wine to it every time you use it. Use it for marinade, &c. &c.

The above recipe is taken from

THE French Cook; or, The Art of Cookery Developed in All It's Various Branches. by Louis Eustache Ude. Formerly Cook to Louis XVI, King of France and at Present Cook to the Right Honorable Earl of Sefton.

LONDON : Printed for the AUTHOR, and sold by J. EBERS, 27, Old Bond Street; and may be had of all the Booksellers in the United Kingdom. 1813.

The above exists in several editions, the dates of those range from 1813 to 1841.

I reproduce the above as it reminds me of the famous Chinese lu shui sauce (Master sauce) which must be reboiled every few days to keep it from spoiling. And I'm certain that this stock would require that too, after it's first use with poaching or simmering fish. In the past, the court bouillons I have made have been frozen and that eliminates the need for reboiling every few days.

By "after a few times" is meant that the fish flavor becomes more pronounced on the tongue after being used a few times. That is certainly true for the lu shui as well. A necessary.

Parsley roots are a relatively modern addition to the foodstuffs I see at produce markets. I don't recall such as little as 25 years ago.

By way of comparison, here is a court bouillon recipe I found two decades ago.

Barataria Bay Terrebonne Estuary Fish Court bouillon

1 cup cooking oil
4 bay leaves
water (approx. 2 quarts)
6 lbs redfish
2 large onions, chopped
1 can tomatoes
1 tbl Italian seasoning
1 can tomato sauce
1 small jar green olives, chopped
Salt and red pepper to taste
1 can mushrooms
2 large bell peppers, chopped fine
2 heads garlic, grated
1 cup green onion tops, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped fine
2/3 cup parsley, chopped

Heat cooking oil in heavy pot; add flour and cook until dark golden brown. Add onions, bell pepper and celery; cook about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives, bay leaves, and water. Adjust amount of water according to desired thickness of gravy. Cook on medium heat about 1 1/2 hours.

Add fish (fried, precooked or raw), mushrooms and grated garlic. Cook about 1 hour. Add onion tops, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and water. Simmer, on low heat, slightly covered, for 1/2 hour. Serve on hot rice or spaghetti.

The Barataria Bay recipe is reproduced here as the website that hosted it is no longer publishing it.