Monday, November 19, 2012

Catfish Boudin

I have what some people might call a love, hate relationship with catfish.  I love catching them and I love the mystique behind them and most of the time I love eating them.  I have had some catfish that I would rate up there with the best fish I have ever eaten. My uncle catches them on the Mississippi river near Burlington Iowa and fries them up and they are some of the best I have ever had. There are other times however, that I hate catfish.  Sometimes I see catfish on a menu or at the grocery store and it seems like just a great idea and sounds so wonderful. Then you take one bite of it and it tastes like, what I imagine the bottom of a swamp would taste like.  Yet time after time I am still drawn to catfish and want to try it again.

The Last time I had catfish was in August, at a restaurant in Minneapolis called The Butcher and the Boar. The catfish they served didn't come with a typical corn meal breading, it came in the form of a sausage. It was a brilliant sausage and one of the highlights of the meal. Since then I have been sort of obsessed with trying to make a catfish boudin that would be similar to the one I had that night.

The biggest obstacle came in the form of finding catfish, I could have gone to the store and bought some catfish but that just didn't seem right.  A few weeks ago a buddy of mine posted a picture of himself with a catfish on Facebook so I asked him to save me a few.  The next day he delivered 4 pounds of fresh catfish fillets. It doesn't get much better than that, I didn't even have to leave the house and got fresh caught fish delivered.

I did a little research on how to make fish sausage and looked at a few Boudin recipes to get an idea of seasoning and then put together a batch of catfish boudin.  The first thing I will say is that it is nowhere near as good as the stuff I had at the Butcher and the Boar.  That said, it is still very good, the fish has a very nice flavor and not at all swampy. The seasoning in the boudin is just right and has the perfect amount of heat.  The biggest difference between mine and the stuff I had in August is texture, their sausage had a better texture it was mother like a processed hot dog where mine is not as finely ground.

Catfish Boudin

4 pounds fresh catfish fillets
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup Italian parsley
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 bunches chopped green onions
1/4 cup rye whiskey
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

In a food processor in small batches chop the fish, parsley, butter, and onions until finely chopped. In a large bowl mix in all other ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Fry a small patty to make sure seasoning is correct. If you feel it needs something now is the time to add it.  If the seasoning is correct stuff into casing, I used natural lamb casings, but you can use whatever you would like.once the casing are stuffed bring 3 cups of milk and 3 cups of water to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer. In small batches poach the boudin to cook through.  once they are cooked let them cool and store them until you are ready to use them.  Then what I do is grill them or fry them in a pan until they are hot and serve.


  1. What is the purpose of using the milk in the final poach? Just wondering if it can be left out or substituted due to some lactose intolerance in the family.

  2. because of the cream in the boudin, by using milk to simmer it in it prevents some of the loss of cream in the sausage. If you use plain water it can leech out some of the cream.