Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a Dutch oven
or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon, to make a thick roux
almost the color of milk chocolate
, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Place the tomato paste
in a small bowl and whisk
in the sherry
. Add to the pot, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the stock
, whisking to blend. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the sugar
, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Season both sides of the redfish fillets with the Essence.
In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the redfish, in batches if necessary, and cook for 2 minutes, then turn and cook for 1 minute. Add the court-bouillon
and cook, stirring very gently to combine, for 2 minutes. Add the butter bit by bit and stir gently to incorporate.
Divide equally among large soup
bowls. Spoon 1/2 cup of rice into the center of each bowl and serve immediately.