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Recipe: French Style Fish Stock (Court Bouillon de Poisson)


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This is a variation on the classic French fish stock, used for sauces and soups.

french style fish stock court bouillon
French style fish stock or court bullion is a great base for many dishes.

Type of dish: Fundamentals
Servings: 4 qts (3.8 l/130 fl oz)
Equipment: Large stock pot (not aluminum), fine mesh sieve


  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped, or a hand-full of celery leaves (optional)
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 5 qts water
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • Note: don’t add salt
  • 2 – 3 lbs fish bones, preferably from white fleshed fish (cod, flounder, etc. are ideal). Avoid using oily fish such as salmon
  • 1 whole, peeled onion, studded with 3 cloves


  1. Place all ingredients in the stock pot, and add water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 45 min.
  3. If desired, the stock can be left to simmer uncovered, reducing the liquid, and concentrating the flavors. This is the reason why salt isn’t added.
  4. Strain through sieve.
  5. The stock can then be portioned and frozen for future use.


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  1. This recipe should not in any way be considered a “court bouillon”. This is French for “short broth” and can be used for poaching fish, eggs, vegetables, sweetbreads, etc. A court bouillon would never include bones of any kind. The words in the parenthesis should be “Fumet de Poisson”.

    • You’re correct to point this out. In the traditional definition of a court bouillon it’s completely neutral. French cooks often make a distinction these days between a “court bouillon de poisson”, which is cooked for no longer than 30 mins, and a “fumet de poisson”, which after 30 mins. is strained and then can be reduced.

  2. Is there a specific reason that you can’t make broth from wild salmon bones? It’s just that that’s what I have on hand right now. I’ve heard it said not to make broth from oily fish on other websites also, but they never seem to say why. I did make the broth from salmon bones once, and it was not exactly appetizing, but if you’re making the broth not for taste but for nutritional benefits would wild salmon be a problem?

    • Salmon broth comes out very strong and unpleasant when its taste gets concentrated, this is why white fish (almost “unflavored” fish) is used.