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Budget Bouillabaisse (Fish Stew)

Posted Jan 29 2013 9:01am

Old Fanny Farmer Bouillabaisse
I created this bouillabaisse, a classic south-of-France fish stew, one night when I was looking for a way to use up a lovely piece of halibut given to me by my dear friend Erin . (Erin’s dad has a fishing retreat in Alaska and she doesn’t like fish, so we are often the very lucky beneficiaries of Alaskan halibut and salmon.)

I don’t think this fish stew can technically be called bouillabaisse since it only has one kind of fish, so I know I’m taking some creative license here. It’s the result of blending together a couple of recipes I came across in old cookbooks : the Bouillabaisse recipe from  The Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook, 10th Edition and “Budget Bouillabaisse” from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978) .

Low in fat and brimming with Weight Watchers power foods , this French fish stew turned out colorful and delicious. Served over slices of toasted whole wheat baguette, it made a satisfying Sunday night one-dish supper.

If you don’t have a friend supplying you with halibut, most any firm white fish fillet, such as cod, haddock, sea bass, red snapper or tilapia will work.

And if you decide to include the bulb of fennel and are not quite sure how to core and chop it, I’ve included a helpful video at the end of the post.


Budget Bouillabaisse

Prep time

Cook time

Total time


A delicious south-of-France fish stew that makes a healthy and delicious meal
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, core removed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice or water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 pounds firm white fish fillet (such as cod, sea bass, haddock, halibut or tilapia) cut into large chunks
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 slices French bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and/or fronds from the fennel (optional)

  1. Put the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, fennel (if using) and garlic and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, clam juice, wine, thyme, fennel seed and bay leaf and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the fish, and cook, until the fish flakes and turns opaque, 5 to 10 minutes depending no the thickness of the fish.
  3. Season to taste with fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, Place a slice of toast in a soup dish. Top with the bouillabaise and then garnish with parsley and/or fennel if desired.

Nutritional Estimates Per Serving (1/6th and 1 slice toast): 268 calories, 4.0 g fat, 26.4 g carbs, 3.0 g fiber, 24.8 g protein and 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus



Cleaning Fennel (Anise)

More Weight Watchers Friendly Soup & Stew Recipes

New England Fish Chowder
Quick Easy Chicken Salsa White Bean Soup
Simple Garden Vegetable Soup
Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Meatball Soup
Warming Fish Stew (Weight Watchers)

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