Bourride (French Monkfish Stew)

Seafood Soups

Bourride, a French monkfish stew
Photo by Lynne Graves from New England Soups from the Sea

Bourride (pronounced “boo-reed-a”) is a French monkfish 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, scallop, or clams.

This recipe is included in my cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea, along with many other classic seafood stews and medleys such as Zarzuela de Mariscos, Cioppino, and several Portuguese seafood stews.

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aioli ingredients for bourride

List of Aioli Ingredients

First, you’ll make the aioli. Here’s what you’ll need:

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

How to Make an Aioli

Put all the aioli ingredients, except the olive oil and salt, into a food processor…

aioli preparation step for bourride

Pulse the ingredients a few times to blend them.

Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a slow and steady stream with the blade running continuously. The mixture will thicken into a mayonnaise-like consistency, like so…

blended aioli

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.

List of Stew Ingredients

  • 2 pounds monkfish or any other firmly textured whitefish such as halibut, Atlantic pollock, dogish, or black sea bass
  • 2 pounds 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 tomattoes or 15 to 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby, new, or fingerling potatoes
vegetables for the bourride

Not pictured above but also needed:

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

Putting It All Together

First, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and 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

Next, add the garlic and paprika and saute for 2 to 3 minutes…

Bourride Monkfish Stew step 2- adding the garlic and paprika

Then, add the wine and tomatoes and simmer for a few more minutes until the wine is slightly reduced…

Bourride Monkfish stew step 3 - adding the tomatoes and wine

Next, add the fish stock and potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are submerged beneath the stock. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Bourride Monkfish Stew step 4 - adding the stock and potatoes

Next, add the shellfish and simmer until the shells open, 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the monkfish and simmer gently until it’s cooked through and easily flakes apart, about 5 to 10 minutes.

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

Salt the bourride, to taste.

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

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 of any of the optional seasoning and accompaniments listed in the full recipe card below.

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need

Full Recipe

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.

Course Main Course
Author Craig Fear


For the Aioli (makes about 2 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 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 dry white wine
  • 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 broth
  • 1 cup baby, new, or fingerling potatoes halved or quartered into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pounds any shellfish you want 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:

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

For the stew:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot and add fennel, onions and leeks and saute for about 5-10 minutes until softened.
  2. Add garlic, paprika and saffron and saute about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add wine and tomatoes and simmer about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add stock and potatoes and simmer about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add shellfish and simmer until shells open, 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add fish and simmer very gently until cooked through 5-10 minutes or until fish is cooked through and easily flakes apart.
  7. With a slotted spoon, remove all the fish and shellfish to a separate bowl and/or transfer them into individual serving bowls.
  8. Salt the stew, to taste.
  9. 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.
  10. Scoop some fish and shellfish into each serving bowl and ladle the stew over. Add optional seasonings, to taste.
  11. Serve with a side of toasted bread of your choice and use any remaining aioli as a spread.

More Seafood Stew Recipes to Try

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Bourride (French Monkfish Stew)

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.