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Bourride (Fish Stew with Aioli)

  • Serves: 6
  • Calories: 709
Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in bowls

A fish stew that’s creamy, with no cream? Meet bourride—an iconic, aioli-laced Provençal fish stew, second only to the region’s other beloved, famed fish stew, bouillabaisse.

This post is in partnership with Le Creuset. All opinions are our own.

A Delicious Taste of Marseille

All of the heady flavors of Marseille sing together in this beautiful fish soup. It’s a bit more humble than its cousin bouillabaisse—it has no saffron, no expensive shellfish. Instead, bourride is a fish stew that celebrates the simple, sharp, rustic flavors of the region—garlic, lemons, fresh fish, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fennel and (of course!) white wine. Served over good bread—with more on the side for dipping and mopping—and extra aioli on the side, bourride can make an elegant supper for company or it can be a quick taste of luxury on a busy weeknight. Either way, it’s always a welcome taste of the Mediterranean. We discovered this recipe in our copy of the Le Creuset Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes From Our French Table, and fell in love with it right away. The fish stew is a keeper, but we also love the aioli recipe as a stand-alone recipe! It’s a true and classic French aioli, and we like to put it on just about everything.

Leeks, fennel, onion and celery chopped in a bowl for bourride soup
Leeks, fennel, onion and celery chopped in soup pot for bourride soup next to a cookbook

Every Ingredient You’ll Need to Make This Bourride Recipe

Many things come together to make this bourride recipe as succulent and beautiful as it is, but of course at the heart of the fish stew is the fish! The recipe from the Le Creuset cookbook calls for halibut, and we looooooove halibut. It’s pricey though, so it’s worth noting that you can absolutely swap another kind of meaty white fish if need be. Sea bass makes a great swap, and monkfish is another classic. If you’re confused or unsure what to pick at the fish counter, ask for help! Tell the fishmonger you’re making this creamy French fish stew recipe, and you could even mention some of the other ingredients. Say that you need a firm, meaty white fish. As for the dry white wine we call for here, use something you’d like to drink! Clearly a French white is a great choice—Roussanne, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc are three grape varietals that are from Provence, so they’d be especially great choices for this stew. They’re often pretty inexpensive, too. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this delicious bourride recipe:

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Onion

  • Fennel bulb

  • Celery

  • Leeks

  • Fresh garlic

  • Bay leaf

  • White wine

  • Fish or seafood stock

  • Fingerling potatoes

  • Halibut or other white fish.

  • Eggs

  • Lemons

  • Dijon mustard

Le Creuset cook book

How To Make Classic French Aioli

You can’t talk about the cuisine of Provence without talking about aioli, and the use of fresh aioli to thicken this fish stew and make it creamy is so very quintessentially Provençal. Did you know that in its most basic iteration, aioli can be as simple as garlic + extra virgin olive oil pounded together in a mortar and pestle. However, most aioli recipes include egg yolks and lemon juice at least, for a little extra creaminess and to balance out the garlic’s sharpness. For this aioli recipe, you’ll need garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, Dijon mustard and egg yolks. A lot of people are intimidated by the prospect of making aioli from scratch, but it’s easy to do! The key is to proceed with confidence, and to know how to fix a broken emulsion, should you find yourself facing that particular challenge. Here are a few tips for making a terrific aioli from scratch:

  1. To help things really come together, try grating the fresh garlic cloves with a microplane grater if you have one (instead of chopping it finely). It’ll nearly liquify, which will help it to be evenly mixed into the aioli.

  2. Whisk together the garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard very thoroughly before you begin to add the olive oil. You want a uniform mixture before you begin to try to create an emulsion.

  3. Emulsion time! You’ll begin to whisk the olive oil very slowly into the rest of the ingredients. The key here is to work very slowly, and stop if you need to. Pour the oil in a very thin stream, and stop anytime you seem to be having trouble getting the oil to fully incorporate into the rest of the ingredients.

hand mixing aioli in a jar
Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in a soup pot

How To Make Bourride

Bourride isn’t hard to make, but you’ll want to set aside a little focused time to make it, as there are a few possible trip points that aren’t hard but do require your full attention. Making aioli—particularly if you haven’t made it before—for one, and little things like straining the broth out before you add the fish. It’s also important to eat bourride right away—like most fish recipes, it’s best enjoyed immediately. Here’s how to make this beautiful Provençal stew:

  1. Sauté the onion, fennel, celery, leeks, garlic, and bay leaf for about 10 minutes.

  2. Pour in the white wine and simmer for about 15 minutes.

  3. Add the stock and water and bring the whole pot to a boil.

  4. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. You want to save both the broth and the vegetables, but you’ll need to separate them. So strain the broth, and set the potatoes and onions etc. aside for a few.

  6. Pour the liquid back into the pot and add the fish. Simmer just until the fish is firm.

  7. Divide the fish between the serving bowls.

  8. Temper the aioli before adding it to the soup. Here’s how! Whisk together 1/2 a cup of the aioli with 1/4 cup of hot broth. Whisk the tempered aioli into the pot of broth.

  9. Return the reserve vegetables to the aioli-ed broth and gently warm it over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

  10. Serve! Ladle over the fish. Garnish with parsley and a splash of sherry, if you’d like

Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in bowls  net to a Le Creuset cookbook
Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in bowls

Tools You’ll Need

More Classic French Recipes To Try

Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in bowls
Bourride French Fish Stew with aioli and potatoes in bowls

Salut!

At once rustic and luxurious, this French fish stew recipe feels like a bit of a celebration. We hope you try it and love it as much as we do, and when you do, tell us all about it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Bourride (Fish Stew with Aioli)

  • Serves: 6
  • Calories: 709

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 Small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Small fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 Celery stalks, diced
  • 2 Small leeks (white parts only), chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups Dry white wine
  • 4 cups Fish or seafood stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ lb Fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 lbs Boneless, skinless halibut or other thick, white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 ½ cups Aioli (recipe follows), divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • garnish with Chopped flat-leaf parsley and dry sherry (optional)
  • serve with Toasted slices of rustic bread and the remaining aioli

Aioli

  • 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ cups Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Method

For the fish stew:

  1. In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Stir in the onion, fennel, celery, leeks, garlic, and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth and set aside the vegetables. Return the broth to the pot and add the fish. Simmer until firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the fish among the serving bowls.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 a cup of the aioli with 1/4 cup of hot broth to temper it. Whisk the tempered aioli into the pot of broth. Return the reserve vegetables to the broth and rewarm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle over the fish. Garnish with parsley and a splash of sherry, If using. Serve hot with toast and the remaining aioli.

For the Aioli:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard until smooth. Whisking constantly, add in the oil in slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 709
  • Protein 28 g
  • Carbohydrates 14 g
  • Total Fat 57 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 90 mg
  • sodium 536 mg
  • Added Sugars 2 g

Bourride (Fish Stew with Aioli)

Questions & Reviews

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  • Matia

    I’ve made this stew twice to rave reviews from my entire family. It’s is quick and easy to make but tastes like you spent a week developing and layering flavors.

    I agree! And I love that it has no dairy!