Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe: Catfish Courtboullion and Corn Macheaux

So here it is, Catfish Courtboullion(cou-be-youn) and Corn Macheaux(mock-shoo). They look nothing like they sound, but both are amazing and full of flavor. It is a childhood dish that I remember having at my Grandparents(Dad's Parents). It's funny how as a child you don't always appreciate good food, but as an adult you crave some of the dishes that you can no longer get because the skilled "chef" is no longer there to make it for you.

Each of my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and of course Parents were well taught in food preparation. Each had a strong point, so were great with baking, some were great with side dishes, but most were very skilled at cooking. I have be very, very lucky to grow up in the region(South Louisiana) that I was in, and blessed to have a family that knew good food.

Most of our family gatherings revolved around food, lots and lots of food. Everyone brought their own specialties and even the small family gatherings turned into feasts, but as usual I have begun to reminisce and have gone off topic. This dish was is very versatile and several different kinds of meat can be used for variety-rabbit, shrimp, chicken to name a few-was usually served with a side of corn macheaux, cole-slaw or a salad, sometimes a potato salad, or green beans and smothered potatoes.

Last night I actually started out making a Sauce Picante, but in the process the "gravy" became a bit soupy-er than I would have preferred and it became a courtboullion which is more of a thick soup/stew. I served it as a stew just because the kids prefer it that way.

Catfish Courtboullion(cou-be-youn) 

2 lbs Catfish Fillets you can cut it into chunks for easier serving
Seasoning for the fish
1-2 tablespoons of roux
4 cloves of garlic
1-2 onions finely chopped
1 Bell Pepper finely chopped
2-3 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cups of water or stock
a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce
hot pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
lemon optional
bay leaf optional(remember to remove before serving)

Directions: Season catfish and return to the refrigerator. Either make a roux, or if you have a jar on hand just use a little of that. Heat the roux in a heavy stock pot. Once it is warm add the chopped onions, bell pepper, garlic, and celery and cook until wilted. Add the tomatoes, the tomato sauce, sugar, worchestershire sauce, water or stock, and seasoning that you would like to add cook until well combined and vegetables become translucent about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add fish and cook until done. It doesn't take long for the fish to cook. it should flake, but not fall apart. 5-8 minutes.

Serve in a soup bowl with a large scoop of rice, or serve as a stew over rice with less sauce.

Note: what I have pictured is in a plate and more like a stew(sauce picante) than a soup because that the way my family prefers to eat it. What I made could be served in a bowl and has the consistanty of a thick bisque. So if you would like more of a stew texture, add only enough water or stock to adjust the consistency for that. Probably about 1/2-1 cup. It should have more of the consistency of a thick spaghetti sauce. Adding the fish will add liquid to the mixture so be careful not to add too much water to start with.

Also, if you would prefer not to use a roux, it can be skipped, but a big part of Cajun cooking is the layers of flavor in the cooking.

Corn Macheaux(mock-shoo)

3-4 cups of corn
2 tablespoons of butter of bacon fat(yes, I have a jar)
1 onion finely chopped
1 bell pepper(I used 1/2 green, and several mini peppers that were red and orange for color)
1-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of cream or half and half

Melt your fat of choice, and saute the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Add the corn and cook until the corn is done if it is fresh corn, or heated if it is canned corn. When it is done lower the heat or turn it off, add the cream and stir. Be careful not to add the cream to the corn if it is too hot the cream will separate.

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