Provencal Comfort Food: Cod Stew with Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Rouille

This rouille is pretty in pink, but it packs a bite!

This recipe is not for picky eaters. First, it’s a fish stew — not the kind of thing I usually gravitate towards. Plus the rouille accompaniment is essentially a garlic and roasted-red-pepper spicy mayonnaise. So my dinner guests and I were a little skeptical as we stirred mayonnaise into, well, fish stew.

But even though we couldn’t shake the feeling that adding mayonnaise to soup was somehow wrong, we were won over when we tasted it. The flavors combine into a garlicky, saffrony, slightly fishy tomato-based bouillabaisse, and every bite of the giant crouton at the bottom of your bowl is a reward. (You definitely want to serve this with chunky bits of crusty bread. Cornbread would be good, too, for the gluten-free.)

To serve, spread the rouille onto a piece of thoroughly-toasted bread, then ladle the soup over the top and garnish with some more rouille. And if you have leftover rouille, use it to take your sandwiches or egg salads to another planet.



Cod Stew with Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Rouille

Serves 6

For cod stew:

  • 2 lbs. cod, chopped into 1″ or 2″ pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 leeks, washed, cut lengthwise, and chopped into 1/2 pieces
  • 8 medium carrots, washed and chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
  • 5 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 bunches of kale, rinsed and torn into pieces, excluding the stems
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
  • 4 strips of orange zest (use a peeler for large strips)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 thick slice of baguette or bread per person (I used gluten-free bread for me and wheat sourdough for guests)

In a dutch oven or stockpot, cook onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, herbes de Provence, cayenne, saffron, salt, and pepper in olive oil over low heat until softened, about 10 min. Add white wine, tomatoes, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, and add cod, tomato paste, and water. Cook until fish falls apart and vegetables are soft, about 30 min. Add kale, and cook until kale is wilted. Pick out the orange zest strips before serving or you’ll get a zesty surprise. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup is cooking, make rouille.

For rouille:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron threads soaked in 1/4 tsp boiling water
  • 5 heads of fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until smooth and thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. (I added more red peppers and garlic, resulting in the recipe above.) The strong flavor of the rouille augments the soup and adds a rich kick.

To serve, toast 1 thick slice of bread per serving until very dry. (I toasted my “croutons” in the oven at 350F.) Place bread in a bowl, spoon with rouille, and ladle the soup over the top. Eat immediately.

*Based on a recipe from*


Filed under Fall, Fish, Gluten-free, Main Course, Soup/Stew

2 responses to “Provencal Comfort Food: Cod Stew with Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Rouille

  1. AK — It’s funny you are talking about mayonnaise because I encountered one today that I planned to mention to you. We ate lunch at the new Courtyard Cafe at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and with the burger they served a BACON MAYO to dress the lettuce and tomato! It was so so good. Like your honey butter (and my maple butter, a takeoff on yours) it’s a simple combo that is heavenly. (PS: We didn’t eat the tobacco onions because they are prepared with wheat flour, but if you know how those are seasoned, let me know.) Best wishes — CE


    • hm, not sure how tobacco onions are prepared. I will have to look! but bacon mayonnaise sounds amazing! I got some bacon chocolate for Christmas, so I’ll be blogging about that soon if it lives up to the hype.

      next time you’re in Los Angeles, go to Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake for some bacon maple ice cream. holy moly.



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