Recipes > Basic Court Bouillon

Basic Court Bouillon


Court bouillon is a flavorful liquid in which to poach foods. This basic court bouillon can be used to poach seafood, fish and chicken.
  • Serves: 7 cups
  • Active Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Views: 157,044
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Court Bouillon

Making the Court Bouillon
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 leek (white part only)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns (white or black)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley


To prepare the court bouillon, place the cold water and wine in a pot. Slice the celery into 1/8" -inch slices. Cut the leek in half, wash and thinly slice just the white part. Dice the onion and add everything to the liquid. Cut them lemon and squeeze in the juice. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and salt and parsley and bring to a simmer. Once the liquid comes to a simmer, turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let steep for about 30 minutes.

Once ready to use, transfer the poaching liquid to a suitable-sized pan in which to cook your food. Bring the liquid to the proper poaching temperature (between 160º to 180º degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the food is completely submerged and cook until it is done to your liking.

Chef's Notes

Don’t let the fancy French name fool you. Court bouillon, which means “short broth” in French, is simply a flavorful liquid that is used to poach fish, seafood, chicken, and sometimes fruit. The liquid often contains water (however almost any liquid can be used) and usually an acid (such as wine, vinegar, or citrus). Aromatics, such as herbs, zest, and spices are often used to add flavor and personalize dishes.


  • Colleen S
    Colleen S
    1. Can you freeze unused court bouillion? 2. Would this recipe work for fruit, or would a different set of aromatics be better? (I'm thinking of trying to poach a pear at the moment....)
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Here is a recipe for poached pears if you like. As for freezing leftover court bouillon, I am not sure that I would freeze any leftovers as most of flavor will be extracted from the mirepoix the first time around. Likely the same thing for a sweet court bouillon (which it sounds like you are making). The one thing I guess I would suggest, is to try freezing any leftovers and see if you get the same flavor from it the second time. Good luck!
  • Donald D
    Donald D
    Can the remaining liquid be used for a soup stock after poaching chicken? Hate to discard it.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Indeed, a court bouillon can be used after food has been poached. This is especially common after poaching fish or shellfish. Additional aromatics and herbs can be added to the court bouillon to give it even more flavor. After simmering and reducing it slightly, it can be strained and used as a light sauce or broth to accompany the dish. Dishes served this way are referred to as "á la nage", which means "swimming" in French. Basically, as long as it tastes good, you can definitely use it in other parts of your cooking. Cheers!
  • Helgi david B
    Helgi david B
    Can you suggest any alternatives to white wine? Would dry martini work instead?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Generally a dry white vermouth can be used instead of white wine but I am not sure exactly what you are planning on using it for so it's hard to say exactly. For more information on this, you may want to type in "wine" or "wine substitution" in the search field and then have a look through the forum discussion as there are quite a few threads on this subject. You may also find it helpful to watch the Pan Sauces lesson. Again, depending on what purpose you are using it for. Cheers!
  • Helgi david B
    Helgi david B
    I'm about to poach salmon in basic court boullion.
  • Nick S
    Nick S
    Hi is this similar to stock where it doesn't matter adding the onion skins, perhaps even the lemon rind into the pot while it is stewing as well? I'm wondering why you do that in the stock lesson but not for this?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Nick, you could include onion skin, here, and lemon rind, too. However, the rind can impart bitterness, so taste the court bouillon and pull out the citrus rind as desired. Eric

Leave A Comment

Please login or join the Rouxbe community to leave a comment.