Easy Bouillabaisse

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This fish stew, originally from Provençe, makes a wonderful dinner party dish. It never ceases to please, yet can be prepared with a minimum of fuss. The fish and seafood can be varied with personal preferences.

NotesIf you have leftovers with seafood in it, you can freeze it for up to 2 months; the texture of the fish and seafood will not be as nice. For entertaining, be sure to add fish and seafood just before serving.For those people with seafood allergies, use additional fish to replace the shellfish in recipe.

Serves4 to 6

Cooking Methodpoaching, sauteeing


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturerich, savory, spiced

Type of Dishfish soup, soup


  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) olive oil 
  • 2 leeks, white part only, chopped 
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 can (28 oz [796 ml]) diced tomatoes 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fish or chicken stock 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 3-inch (8 cm) piece orange zest 
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) ground fennel
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) dried thyme leaves 
  • Pinch cayenne pepper 
  • 1 lb (500 g) firm fleshed fish such as cod, haddock, halibut or sea bass 
  • 8 oz (250 g) scallops
  • 8 oz (250 g) shrimp 
  • 8 oz (250 g) mussels 
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh parsley 
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) Pernod or other licorice-flavored liqueur (optional) 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks, celery, garlic and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

  2. Stir in tomatoes and juices, stock, wine, bay leaf, orange zest, fennel, thyme and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. If freezing, see “to freeze” section below; otherwise proceed with step 3.

  3. Cut fish into 1-inch (2 cm) cubes. In a saucepan bring soup to a boil. Add fish, scallops, shrimp and mussels. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Discard any mussels that have not opened during cooking. Stir in parsley and, if using, Pernod. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf and orange zest. Ladle into soup bowls. Serve with crusty bread.

  4. To freeze: Cool to room temperature. Ladle into freezer container; seal, label and date. Freeze for up to 4 months.

  5. To serve: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Proceed with step 3, above.


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