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The French classic Bouillabaisse is typically a fish stew originating out of Provence, France. It typically uses Provencal herbs and spices for the broth, making it a rather unique dish. We wanted to try something different with it, however, and adapt this famous fish stew to taste just as delicious with chicken as its base.

To load this dish with the flavor lost in replacing the fish, we added flour and tomato paste to the saffron and cayenne before adding the broth. This gave the sauce extra body. We also added the alcohol earlier to give it time to cook off. Finally, to enhance the standard saffron mayonnaise, we added lemon juice and dijon mustard. Keep reading below for our favorite recipe…

Chicken Bouillabaisse

(makes 4 servings)



  • 3lbs bone-in skin-on chicken pieces, trimmed of excess fat
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek (white and light green parts only) halfed lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced thin
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lenthwise, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 strip orange zest, removed with a peeler, about 3″ long and cleaned of the white pith
  • 1/4 cup pastisor Pernod
  • 3/4lb Yukon gold potatoes cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon


  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook without moving until well browned (5 to 8 minutes). Flip the chicken and brown the other side about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
  2. Add leek and fennel, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and turn translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the saffron, cayenne, flour, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add tomatoes, wine, broth, zest, pastis, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Nestle the chicken into the simmering liquid with the skin above the surface. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Bake uncovered for about 10 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 145F for breasts and 160F for drumsticks and thighs.
  4. Meanwhile, microwave the water and saffron for the rouille for 10 to 20 seconds or until the water is steaming. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Cut off a 3″ piece of the baguette and remove and discard the crust. Tear the crustless bread into 1″ chunks. Stir the bread pieces and lemon juice into the saffron water and let soak for 5 minutes. Using a whisk, mash the soaked bread mixture until a uniform paste forms (1 to 2 minutes). Whisk in mustard, egg yolk, cayenne, and garlic until a smooth, mayonnaise-like consistency is reached. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil in a steady stream until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. to make the croutons, cut the remaining baguette into 3/4″ thick slices. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake on the lower rack until light and golden brown (can be toasted while the bouillabasse is in the oven) 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. remove the buillabaisse and croutons from the oven and set the oven to broil. Once heated, return the bouillabaisse to the oven and cook until the chicken skin is crisp and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160F for breasts or 175F for drumsticks and thighs (5 to 10 minutes).
  7. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large plate. Skim the excess fat from the broth. Stir in taragon into the broth and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the broth and potatoes to a serving bowls and top with chicken pieces. Drizzle 1 tablespoon rouille over each portion and spread 1 teaspoon rouille over each crouton. Serve hot.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted fromDinner with Julia

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