Bourride: A Classic French Monkfish Stew You Need to Try

Seafood Recipes

Bourride (pronounced “boo-reed-a”) is a French fish stew whose defining feature is an aioli made with olive oil, garlic, lemon, and mustard, that infuses the broth, slightly thickening it into a velvety texture and turning it a gorgeous golden yellow color. 

Bourride may not be as famous as Bouillabaisse, its world-renowned French Provencal sibling, but it is held in high esteem amongst those who know it well! 

Traditionally, Bourride is made with monkfish, but any firm, lean whitefish will suffice. Halibut would be another excellent choice. One or two types of shellfish are also routine additions. My recipe includes mussels because the first time I made this was on Cape Cod where I scored the biggest, juiciest, most tender blue mussels (from Chatham) that I’d ever had. Add any shellfish your heart desires such as shrimp, scallops, or clams.

This French monkfish stew recipe is also included in my cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea, along with many other classic seafood stews such as Zarzuela de Mariscos (a Spanish seafood stew), Zuppa di Pesce (an Italian seafood stew), Cioppino, and several Portuguese seafood stews.

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Ok, let’s get started with the recipe! The first step is making the aioli.

How to Make the Aioli

Aioli Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBPS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Step 1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor

aioli preparation step for bourride

Pulse the ingredients a few times to blend them.

Step 2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil

Add it in a slow and steady stream with the blade running continuously until the aioli thickens into a mayonnaise-like consistency, like so…

blended aioli

Step 3. Salt, to taste.

Salt the aioli, to taste. Set it aside or put it in the fridge if you’re making the bourride later in the day or the next day.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? OK. let’s move on to putting it all together and making the bourride.

How to Make Bourride

List of Stew Ingredients

vegetables for the bourride
  • 2 pounds monkfish or any other firmly textured whitefish such as halibut, Atlantic pollock, dogfish, or black sea bass
  • 2 pounds of any shellfish combo of mussels, clams, scallops, or shrimp
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large leek or 2 small ones
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup plum tomatoes or 15 to 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby, new, or fingerling potatoes

Not pictured above but also needed:

  • olive oil
  • smoked paprika
  • dry white wine
  • fish stock
  • salt

Step 1. Saute the vegetables in olive oil

First, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add the fennel, onions, and leeks and saute for 5 to 10 minutes until softened.

Bouride Monkfish Stew step 1 - saute the vegetables in oil

Step 2. Add the garlic and paprika

Saute for 2 to 3 minutes more minutes…

Bourride Monkfish Stew step 2- adding the garlic and paprika

Step 3. Add the wine and tomatoes

Simmer for a few more minutes until the wine is slightly reduced…

Bourride Monkfish stew step 3 - adding the tomatoes and wine

Step 4. Add the fish stock and potatoes

Make sure the potatoes are submerged beneath the stock. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Bourride Monkfish Stew step 4 - adding the stock and potatoes

Step 5. Add the shellfish and simmer until the shells open.

The mussels will take about 3 minutes or so to open.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of these next few steps. No big deal though. I’m sure you don’t need a pic for every little detail!

Step 6. Add the monkfish

Simmer gently until it’s cooked through and easily flakes apart, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 7. Remove the fish and shellfish

With a slotted spoon, remove all the fish and shellfish to a separate bowl or transfer them to individual serving bowls.

Step 8. Salt the bourride, to taste

Step 9. Add the aioli and whisk it in

Next, make sure the bourride is at a very gentle simmer, and add 1 cup of the aioli…

adding the aioli to the Bourride Monkfish Stew

Whisk it for 4 to 5 minutes. Initially, it will look quite clumpy like this…

stirring the aioli into the bourride

Just keep stirring. It will eventually become smooth and slightly thickened…

the aioli integrated into the monkfish stew

Finally, scoop some of the monkfish and shellfish into each serving bowl and ladle the stew over, like so…

Bourride pin

Voila! A beautiful monkfish stew. Of course, it might not look that pretty unless you write a cookbook and hire a professional photographer and stylist!

Nevertheless, it WILL be delicious!

Serve it with a side of any bread of your choice or any of the optional seasonings and accompaniments listed in the full recipe card below.

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need

Full Bourride Recipe (French Monkfish Stew)

Bourride, a French monkfish stew

Bourride (French Monkfish Stew)

A close cousin to Bouillabaisse, Bourride is a French seafood stew whose defining feature is an aioli that infuses the stew with a gorgeous golden yellow color. Monkfish is the most common choice of fish followed by halibut. Shellfish is a frequent addition too.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseMain Course
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings8 servings
AuthorCraig Fear


For the Aioli (makes about 2 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the stew

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 leeks white part only, sliced lengthwise and diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 cup white wine dry
  • 1 cup plum tomatoes about 3 to 4, quartered lengthwise, cored and sliced into ½ inch pieces or 15-20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 1 cup potatoes baby, new, or fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pounds shellfish of your choice mussels, clams, scallops, etc.
  • 2 pounds monkfish or halibut or any other firm, lean whitefish of your choice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup aioli

Optional seasonings, to taste

  • Fresh parsley leaves chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves chopped
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bread of your choice topped with aioli


For the aioli:

  • Add garlic, egg yolk, dijon mustard and lemon juice to a food processor and blend together.
  • Gradually add olive oil in a slow and steady stream with blade running, until the mixture thickens like mayonnaise. Add salt, to taste.
  • Set aside or refrigerate if making ahead.

For the stew:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot and add fennel, onions and leeks and saute for about 5-10 minutes until softened.
  • Add garlic, paprika and saffron and saute about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add wine and tomatoes and simmer about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add stock and potatoes and simmer about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add shellfish and simmer until shells open, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add fish and simmer very gently until cooked through 5-10 minutes or until fish is cooked through and easily flakes apart.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove all the fish and shellfish to a separate bowl and/or transfer them into individual serving bowls.
  • Salt the stew, to taste.
  • Make sure the stew is barely at a simmer and add 1 cup of the aioli and whisk for about 4 to 5 minutes or until it is slightly thickened.
  • Scoop some fish and shellfish into each serving bowl and ladle the stew over. Add optional seasonings, to taste.
  • Serve with a side of toasted bread of your choice and use any remaining aioli as a spread.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 866kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 45g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 1031mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1208IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 3mg

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Bourride: A Classic French Monkfish Stew You Need to Try

About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.