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Old 02-17-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
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Matelote----Sort Of

Matelote is a French fisherman’s stew. Because it originated in an in-land part of France, it is usually made with fresh water fish. Eel is the traditional choice, but, in his Paris journal, Thomas Jefferson says that “catfish, pike, or other fish” can be used. Jefferson really liked catfish, and I have no doubt that was his choice when making this at Monticello.

There’s no reason not to use salt water fish, if preferred. I’m making this tonight with mahi-mahi, for instance, because there was a good price on it at the market.
MATELOTE
(French Fish Stew)
2-3 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut in lardoons
1 cup sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups pinot noir, burgundy, or any red wine
2 cups fish stock
¼ tbls minced parsley
1 bay leaf
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
Pinch salt
4 tbls butter, divided
1 lb beech mushrooms
1 lb pearl onions, prepped
2 lbs firm fleshed fish
Salt & pepper to taste
Croutons (optional) for garnish

Cut fish into slabs.

Fry the bacon in a large saucepan until just browned. Remove from pan and reserve. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender. Add the wine, stock, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, allspice and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Liquid will be reduced by about half.

While soup is simmering, melt 2 tbls butter in a skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until all liquid evaporates and mushrooms brown up. Remove to a bowl and reserve. Melt remaining butter in same skillet and sauté the pearl onions until patchy brown. Transfer to same bowl as mushrooms. Deglaze skillet with more wine, and add to the simmering stock.

15 minutes before serving, bring soup back to boil. Add the fish and cook, 8-10 minutes until just done. Remove fish to a serving bowl and keep warm.
Add the onions and mushrooms into the broth and boil hard about 5 minutes to reduce further and concentrate flavors. Adjust seasonings. Return lardoons to broth and pour over the fish.

Option: Garnish each serving with croutons made by cutting bread into small triangles and frying in garlic butter until browned on both sides.

Notes:
1. Broth and onion/mushroom mixture can be prepared up to a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Take out an hour before final prep, so they come to room temperature.
2. I use beech mushrooms because I like their flavor. Obviously, any mushrooms can sub. But they should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
3. The bacon amount is a guess. I use slab bacon, and cut off the amount I think I’ll need.

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:16 PM   #2
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This looks to be really good. I printed out a copy.

I do have a couple of questions. I buy catfish nuggets which are pretty reasonably priced here, but wouldn't have fish stock on hand. What else can I use? I often use chicken broth in other dishes. Do you think that might work here?
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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It would create a slightly different flavor profile, Zhizara. But there's no reason not to use it. The end result is going to taste very winey, no matter what other liquid you use.

I've seen Matelote recipes that use white wine instead of red. That might be a better approach with chicken stock.

Alternatively, can you buy clam juice down there? I often make a fast fish-stock by cutting clam juice half & half with water. You can also use shrimp shells and/or crab shells to make a stock.

BTW, those catfish nuggets are a perfect choice for a Matelote.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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@ Historic Foodie: Wonderful Historic Recipe

Bom Día and Hello From Porto,
@ Historic Foodie,

Thanx for posting such a wonderful fish soup. You know I am always looking for fish / shellfish soup recipes ... I posted a Portuguese Chowder that we had for lunch when we arrived in Porto, Portugal today. Also delicious.

Have nice wkend.
Margi.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Matelot in English : a sailor´s traditional thick soup

@ Historic Foodie,

The French translation is Matelot in English. Sounds fun ... It was made with Carp ...

Margi.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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This sounds very good; I'll have to try it.

Regarding a substitute for fish stock, I agree clam juice would work well. This time of year, I often see smelt in the seafood section. It's cheap and I've used it to make stock.

You also make a good point about shrimp and crab shells. Whenever we have something calling for shrimp, I usually just toss the shells into a ziplock and put them in the freezer. Then when I have time, I put them in a pan along with a bay leaf or two, cover with water, and simmer for about 45 minutes. This stock freezes well.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:35 PM   #7
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I do the same thing with shrimp shells, Steve. Although when I use them for stock there's rarely enough left over to freeze.

I also use them in my squash hills, as a source of nutrients.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:23 PM   #8
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Actually, I was going to leave out the wine. Except for a little sherry in certain dishes, I don't like my wine cooked. To me it just ruins a dish. Two cups??? I'd rather drink it myself.

I usually buy cleaned frozen tail-on shrimp. I'll start saving the tails, but it will be awhile before I have enough to make stock.

I'll start by just cutting the tails off with that little bit of meat inside, instead of pulling them off to keep the bit of meat intact.

I thought about the clam juice too. I use it in oyster stew, since I can't get extra oyster liquor. Plus some of those canned baby clams at the last minute or two. It's got a lot of clam juice in it as well.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:05 PM   #9
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If you leave out the wine it will be a totally different dish, being as Matelote is difined that way.

Not that the result would be bad, by any means. Just call it something else.

And it makes the use of chicken stock even more feasible. I believe, going that way, that I'd add a little milk or cream, towards the end, just for some richness.

I would not use any commercial chicken stock for this dish. You're really concentrating it, and the salt content in all of them, IMO, is much too high for such treatment.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HistoricFoodie View Post
If you leave out the wine it will be a totally different dish, being as Matelote is difined that way.

Not that the result would be bad, by any means. Just call it something else.

And it makes the use of chicken stock even more feasible. I believe, going that way, that I'd add a little milk or cream, towards the end, just for some richness.

I would not use any commercial chicken stock for this dish. You're really concentrating it, and the salt content in all of them, IMO, is much too high for such treatment.
I never use canned chicken stock. I always buy 10# chicken legs which I separate and freeze. It's just so easy to boil some up and I can season it the way I like. Unless I'm going to make soup right away, I don't salt my stock/broth.

I wish more manufacturers would remove the salt from their seasonings. Sometimes I want a bolder flavor, but can't add more without adding extra salt.
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Matelote----Sort Of Matelote is a French fisherman’s stew. Because it originated in an in-land part of France, it is usually made with fresh water fish. Eel is the traditional choice, but, in his Paris journal, Thomas Jefferson says that “catfish, pike, or other fish” can be used. Jefferson really liked catfish, and I have no doubt that was his choice when making this at Monticello. There’s no reason not to use salt water fish, if preferred. I’m making this tonight with mahi-mahi, for instance, because there was a good price on it at the market. MATELOTE (French Fish Stew) 2-3 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut in lardoons 1 cup sliced onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 cups pinot noir, burgundy, or any red wine 2 cups fish stock ¼ tbls minced parsley 1 bay leaf ½ tsp thyme ¼ tsp black pepper ¼ tsp allspice Pinch salt 4 tbls butter, divided 1 lb beech mushrooms 1 lb pearl onions, prepped 2 lbs firm fleshed fish Salt & pepper to taste Croutons (optional) for garnish Cut fish into slabs. Fry the bacon in a large saucepan until just browned. Remove from pan and reserve. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender. Add the wine, stock, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, allspice and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Liquid will be reduced by about half. While soup is simmering, melt 2 tbls butter in a skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until all liquid evaporates and mushrooms brown up. Remove to a bowl and reserve. Melt remaining butter in same skillet and sauté the pearl onions until patchy brown. Transfer to same bowl as mushrooms. Deglaze skillet with more wine, and add to the simmering stock. 15 minutes before serving, bring soup back to boil. Add the fish and cook, 8-10 minutes until just done. Remove fish to a serving bowl and keep warm. Add the onions and mushrooms into the broth and boil hard about 5 minutes to reduce further and concentrate flavors. Adjust seasonings. Return lardoons to broth and pour over the fish. Option: Garnish each serving with croutons made by cutting bread into small triangles and frying in garlic butter until browned on both sides. Notes: 1. Broth and onion/mushroom mixture can be prepared up to a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Take out an hour before final prep, so they come to room temperature. 2. I use beech mushrooms because I like their flavor. Obviously, any mushrooms can sub. But they should be cut into bite-sized pieces. 3. The bacon amount is a guess. I use slab bacon, and cut off the amount I think I’ll need. 3 stars 1 reviews
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