ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Court Bouillon?

Updated on November 17, 2011
Photo by dianenickerson via Flickr
Photo by dianenickerson via Flickr
Photo by dianenickerson via Flickr
Photo by dianenickerson via Flickr

Court Bouillon is a great tool in the kitchen – but it’s not very well known outside of the restaurant kitchen. There’s no good reason for this – since it’s easy, inexpensive, and a great means by which to impart some serious flavor to delicate meats and vegetables.

In a nutshell, court bouillon is nothing but an acidulated vegetable stock. (Acidulated just means you added an acid).

I personally love the name ‘court bouillon’. It makes me think of a lovely, delicate little crystal clear soup served to a queen. *sigh*. In reality the rough translation is “boiled briefly” or “short boil”. See? French sometimes is better in the imagination.

But that’s a good illustration of this point – it’s not a difficult thing to do – it’s just has a fancy name. And the payoff is well worth the little tiny bit of effort.

The closest kitchen relative to the court bouillon is a broth or stock. There are several major differences though.

  1. Cooking time – broths and stocks simmer for hours, while a court bouillon takes a few minutes – in any case no more than half an hour.
  2. Acid – lemon, wine or vinegar are part of the court bouillon – because they tenderize, and help firm soft proteins. They are not added to broths or stocks during the cooking process.
  3. Salt is not added to broth or stock during the cooking process because as the liquid reduces, the salt is concentrated. The result could be far too salty to eat. You do season a court bouillon at the beginning though. Additionally, broths and stocks are made from meats and bones, (roasted or not), and therefore contain gelatin. I’ll elaborate on this further in Broths and Stocks, since these are yummy little elaborate topics by themselves.

Shellfish – lobster, prawns, shrimp, crawfish and crabs – all manner of fish – trout, pike, sole, tuna, salmon (all of them!) – chicken, eggs, vegetables – these are all candidates for a nice little hot tub dip in a court bouillon.

Court bouillon

1 cup champagne or white wine (and yes, leftover or stale is fine)

2 cups water

1 small bunch parsley

8-10 black peppercorns

1 lemon, sliced

1 rib celery, washed and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 small onion, peeled and halved

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10-20 minutes. You can let it go for half an hour if you wish. All you want to do at this step is extract the flavor from your ingredients into the liquid.

Strain the court bouillon through a fine mesh sieve and then through a layer or two of cheesecloth (honestly, I often skip the cheesecloth step). The court bouillon is ready to use. If you wish, throw it in the fridge for a few days – no more than 3-4 – or stick it in the freezer for a couple of months.

At this point – you’re ready to use it.

Once you’ve used the court bouillon once, you can reuse it once. Simply strain it, bring it to a full boil for two minutes, than back in the fridge or freezer. To use it again, simply add enough water, wine or broth to bring the cooking level back up to the original point.  I honestly don’t like reusing it – it takes on the flavors of the previous occupant. For example, if you use it to cook fish – especially a strongly flavored fish like salmon or tuna, then you’re subsequent dish will take on the flavor of salmon or tuna. Ewww.  And this is just too simple and inexpensive to make to worry about using it more than once.

A couple of notes.

  1. The ingredient list above is very loose. There really are no hard and fast rules, with the exception of the vegetables and the salt and pepper. So I suppose you could make a court bouillon with only onion, celery, carrot and salt and pepper.
  2. Change out the acid based on what you are going to poach in the liquid. If cooking an oily fish, I use the wine and lemon both. For chicken I drop the lemon sometimes. And for eggs I get rid of it entirely and swap the wine for a tablespoon or two of high quality vinegar.
  3. Remember – the flavors in the court bouillon will impart themselves to your dish. So if you like or don’t like something – adapt!
  4. I can’t give you cooking times on the court bouillon side of the equation, since that depends on what food you are cooking, as well as the thickness of the food. For example, the salmon fillets I did last night took only five minutes of poaching, and a five minute rest in the court bouillon. However, a steak cut from the same fish would have a different time due to its different shape and thickness. I can ask however, that you stay tuned. Cooking times will be forth coming from the articles on the individual foods.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DixieMockingbird profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Charles 

      8 years ago from East Tennessee

      Thanks J.S.!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Can't wait to try it!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)