Fish Soup from Bergen

With all the heavy dishes of fatty meats and sweet, baked goods during the holidays, it’s sometimes nice to ‘ease up’ on the diet with some seafood. My mom usually will always serve halibut on Christmas Day, served with boiled potatoes, pickled cucumbers and a nice, fresh salad – a welcome change from the day before when most of us have indulged way too much.  I will cover this dish in a later post, but today I was tempted to re-create the Bergen Fish Soup, a delicacy and classic dish known to most Norwegians.  The French have their bouillabaisse, New England has their clam chowder, and San Fransisco proudly serves its cioppino – but the Bergen Fish soup will always be close to my heart. The soup gets its name from the beautiful city of Bergen on the west coast. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, known for its seafood and maritime industry and gorgeous, multicolored buildings, and is situated among a group of mountains known as the Seven Mountains.  Bergen is also one of the more cultural cities of Norway and an absolute must to visit should you be in my lovely country!

bergen

It is no secret that Norway has some amazing seafood due to its large coastline, and the Bergen soup celebrates many of the delicacies found in our oceans. While you can find this easily in ‘ready to cook’  packages in the supermarkets across the country,  as a cook, I naturally find much more satisfaction in creating this soup from scratch with all the wonderful seafood I can get my hands on.  Not unlike a classic seafood chowder, with potatoes, cream, sour cream or creme fraiche , it is perfect as a light dinner, served with a good, crusty loaf of bread and of course… a crisp white wine! Chablis is my favorite…Try Christian Moreau 1er Cru Vaillons 2010,  this domaine is always a winner in my book.

chablismoreau2010

Below is one version of a recipe for Bergensk Fiskesuppe – but you can play around with it, and add or substitute your favorite fish or seafood. I typically like to add different colors of fish, for variety in both flavor, look and texture.

Here is a recipe that has made me happy many a times:

3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
4 -5 cups fish stock or vegetable stock
1 cup whole milk
1 medium carrot, diced small
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-2 inch cubes
12 peeled medium shrimp (raw)
12 mussels  or small scallops
6 ounces halibut (or fish of your own choice)
4 oz salmon (or fish of your choice)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 cup creme fraiche
parsley, dill and/or chives, chopped for garnish
Directions:Melt 1 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup pot, saute the leeks and carrots, then potatoes until tender or about 10 minutes. Add add the remaining butter, let it melt, then add the flour, stir for about 2 minutes without browning the flour – this will be your roux or base for the soup.
Heat up the fish stock in a separate pot and gradually add to the vegetables, stirring all the time, let it simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.
Add the fish first, then after a couple of minutes the shrimp and then lastly the mussels, cook for a couple of minutes,  and finish with adding the milk and heavy cream.
Simmer for another minute or so until heated through.
Finish by adding the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with creme fraiche and chopped dill or chives or more parsley.There is a version that also adds about 1 tbsp of sugar and some vinegar or a squeeze of lemon in to the soup and whisk in 2 egg yolks at the end (take some stock out of the soup and whisk in the egg yolks in a small bowl and add it back to the soup) to make the soup even richer/thicker. You can experiment with that as well should you wish – the options are endless!Bergenskfiskesuppe

3 thoughts on “Fish Soup from Bergen

  1. Sunny says:

    Hi Fredericks! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, I am happy to hear that you are enjoying it! I’m sorry I’m replying to many days later but for some reason it ended up in my ‘spam’ file. My tips to new writers is: write what’s on your mind and be TRUE to yourself. Don’t think too much about ‘what will people think’, but write about what makes you happy, passionate, curious, etc. Start with short posts if you feel overwhelmed at first, and expand from there. I also received a great tip from another experienced blogger, and that was to write about a subject that you feel you have at least 50 posts/ideas to blog about. Hope that helps – best of luck to you and hope you will continue to follow!

  2. Daytona Strong (@OutsideOslo) says:

    Hi Sunny, your soup looks delicious. After your comment on my post about the soup, I thought I’d check it out and see how you make yours. Don’t you love how the soup is so open to interpretation and variations yet it still remains the classic? I think that helps to make it a foolproof and satisfying dish that can be customized to each individual palate.

    • Sunny says:

      Hi Daytona and thanks for checking out my soup recipe! I am always intrigued and amused with the incredible number of variations of one recipe, and everyone insisting “THEIRS” is the best🙂 It reminds me of when I lived in Italy and all the Italian mammas would argue that their pasta sauce was far superior to anybody else’s… As a recipe developer/tester I now am really into trying every recipe I can get my hand on, and as you say – make it into my own “perfect” recipe… Of course the one that will taste the best is the one you grew up with! The research and testing continues! Really fun to see what you are up to as well and how you interpret Norwegian food!🙂

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