Paw Paw’s Catfish Courtbouillon II


In Lake Charles, La., there was a wonderful Cajun restaurant that served one of the best courtbouillon (courtbouillion) around. Sarah writes, “I also enjoyed PawPaw’s Catfish Courtbouillion and didn’t know if you guys had the original recipe? I visited PawPaw’s in the early 90s and asked for the recipe and they gave it to me – on letterhead!” This is that recipe. You will note that on our web site we have another Paw Paw’s Catfish Courtbouillion. Apparently Paw Paw’s updated the recipe over the years and handed out that one as well.


  • 3-4 pounds catfish (keep filets as whole as possible)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp parsley chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp red pepper (although I cut it to 1 1/2 -2 tsp)
  • 2 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oil for roux


Step 1

In a medium heavy gauge stockpot, boil the 3-4 lbs of catfish filets in one gallon of water to make fish stock. Approximately 10 minutes.

Authors Note: After trial and error I recommend keeping the filets as whole as possible - when you re-add them to the dish they will break apart but it will be in decent chunks. Do not break them up or you will end up with shreds. If you have catfish heads you can use them as they season (flavor) the water even more.

Step 2

Carefully remove fish head from the water and set aside.

Step 3

In a separate pot, make the roux using 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup oil. Add all other ingredients to fish stock. Boil all of the ingredients and the roux for one hour instead of the recommended 25 minutes - I find that the roux needs longer to boil than just 25 minutes.

Step 4

Add the bay leaf; then add the catfish and simmer for 30 minutes. To prevent scorching, shake the pot from side to side; do not stir. Stirring has a tendency to break up the fish.

Step 5

Serve over rice and enjoy.

Most of the old cooks like to add the 1/2 cup parsley and 1/2 cup onions tops in the last few minutes of cooking. This is optional.

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