From our kitchen: Burgundian fish stew
Author: Stewart Turner
January is Burgundy season and I’m a real fan of these wines. It is definitely my favourite wine region, especially for whites, with Meursault being my go-to for a special occasion. So, with all that in mind – and breaking with tradition – I’m doing a dish to go with all those fantastic Burgundian whites. These wines are often paired, and work fantastically well, with shellfish; but as Burgundy is landlocked, I thought it would be great to do something that hails from the region. This is my take on what is a classic freshwater fish stew, or Pôchouse, as it’s known to the locals.
River fish are an acquired taste and their popularity has been declining for many years, so they can be quite hard to source. I’ve stuck with trout and crayfish, as they are readily available, but you can use carp or perch, although these are mainly produced in Eastern Europe and China where they remain popular.
- 3 river trout
- 1 leek – chopped
- 1 stick celery – chopped
- 1 onion – peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ bunch of flat parsley – picked with stalks reserved for the stock
- 500g small new potatoes
- 150g crayfish tails
- 150 g smoked eel fillets – diced
- 100g small button mushrooms
- 100g button onions – peeled
- 500ml white wine
- 150ml double cream
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 50g unsalted butter – diced
Fillet the fish, or ask your fishmonger to do this for you – just make sure you get the heads and bones for the stock. Remove the eyes and the gills from the fish heads. Rinse the bones well to remove any blood. Cut the fillets into large chunks.
Put the fish heads and bones in a pot. Cover with clean water (about a litre). Bring to a boil and remove the scum that will rise to the surface with a slotted spoon. Add the leek, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, bay and parsley stalks. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve and set aside. Place the wine in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to 150ml, then add the passed stock and reduce by half. While the stock is reducing, add the button onions and new potatoes. Poach for about 10 minutes until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Add the cream and bring the mixture back to the boil. Reduce the heat and poach the trout until just cooked. While the fish is cooking, lightly sauté the button mushrooms with the diced smoked eel, and then put to one side with the onions and potatoes.
Once cooked, place the fish on a serving dish and keep warm. Return the sauce to the boil. Whisk in the diced butter and mustard, then fold in the crayfish tails. Simmer for a couple of minutes to warm through, then mix in the potatoes, onion, eel and mushroom mix. Finish with the chopped parsley, season to taste and then pour over the fish. Serve with some sprouting broccoli and crusty bread.
What to drink: You can’t go wrong with our own-label white Burgundy, but this dish would benefit from a wine that has a bit more weight and richness. Try one of Stewart’s favourites with our own-label Meursault. Of course, you could also go for a less authentic partner with Chardonnay from elsewhere – something like this superb Napa example (that also happens to be in our Sale) would work nicely.