Choupic Sauce Picante’ (Mudfish/Cypress Trout)

Choupic, commonly known as Mudfish here in South Louisiana, but technically named Cypress Trout, was once considered trash fish & was once dirt cheap to buy & fished heavily in swamp areas by “the poor people” with cane poles. Today, Choupic is fished by serious fisherman that love that great taste, fried or in a Sauce Picante’, otherwise know as simply a tomato gravy. Choupic are fish that grow big, can survive where other fish cannot, & do not come to your dinner table without putting up a fierce fight, but once you have tasted it, you’re usually the one that is hooked. This fish is my favorite in a Sauce Picante’ because the pieces can be stuffed with seasoned garlic that just explodes with flavor, although I love it filleted as well. Now, let’s try & turn these vicious fish into tasty table fare.

Choupic Balls:

  1. 3-5 lbs filleted ground Choupic 
  2. 2 lbs boiled potatoes until soft then let cool to room temp
  3. 1 large onion
  4. 1 large bell pepper
  5. 1 clove garlic
  6. 1 bunch chopped onion tops
  7. 1 bunch chopped parsley

Grind Choupic, onion, bell pepper, garlic, & potatoes Coarse Ground, not fine. Once ground, mix all together, including chopped parsley & onion tops then season to taste. Once seasoned to taste, form into “meatballs”, size to your preference, I usually form into medium sized balls, taking into account they will shrink only a little while cooking.

Ingredients to cook Sauce Picante’:

  1. 6 cups of tomato sauce of your choice, make sure to get plain tomato sauce, not zesty Italian.
  2. 1 large chopped onion
  3. 1 large chopped bell pepper 
  4. 1 clove diced garlic
  5. 1 bunch chopped celery
  6. I bunch chopped onion top
  7. 1 bunch chopped parsley
  8. 1/2 oz browning sauce
  9. 2 sticks salted butter

To feed 7-10 people:

  1. On medium to high heat, sauté onions, bell pepper, garlic, & celery in melted butter until golden brown.
  2. Once trinity is sautéed to preference, add tomato sauce, sugar, & browning sauce & cook on low fire approximately 1 hour to break down tomato sauce acid.
  3. Once tomato sauce has cooked 1 hour, turn heat to high then add Choupic Balls raw to gravy & cook on high 5 min. Do not use a spoon to stir, grab each side of pot & twist back & forth so contents will not stick, repeat this process every time instead of stirring with spoon, prevents balls from being torn in pot. After cooking on high for 5 min, drop heat to low & cook another 20 min.
  4. After cooking another 20 min, remove from heat, add onion tops & parsley. Let stand another 15 min before serving over white rice.

*If worried about balls sticking, after balls are added to gravy, pot can be placed in oven for 45 min at 400 degrees.*

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