This Finnish salmon soup (maybe it’s a stew?) is served regularly in my home for a few reasons. First, purely for the love of salmon! It’s also nourishing while being fairly light on the stomach and simple to prepare. If you’re a salmon lover like me or just looking to mix up your meal rotation while getting more omega-3’s in your kids’ diets this week, give this recipe a shot.
My family and I live in Minnesota. We love it here, though it’s hard to remember why as we slog through feet of snow on our walks in March. Unfortunately, though, local salmon isn’t a feature of the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. Salmon is available in every grocery store, but it tends to be either super spendy, of mediocre quality, or both.
Finnish salmon soup is a perfect solution if your local salmon availability is similar to mine. A smaller filet seems to go farther mixed into soup than on its own! You can certainly still taste the salmon, though, so I do notice a difference with a higher quality filet.
How to serve Finnish Salmon Soup
Rye bread is a great accompaniment to this soup, especially a hearty sourdough rye that’s slightly dense (the better for dipping with)! Rye is also perfect if you’re looking to keep your meal more authentically Finnish. You can’t go wrong with sourdough of any sort, though.
I’ve also sprinkled homemade sourdough croutons over the top of this soup, and the added crunch was a delight.
Squeezing a lemon wedge over your soup is also a fine idea.
Equipment for making Finnish Salmon Soup
A large pot or dutch oven
Liquid measuring cups
Ingredients for Finnish Salmon Soup
- Salt (fine sea salt or kosher salt)
- Yellow onion
How to make Finnish Salmon Soup
Remove the skin from the salmon and cut it into pieces, approximately 2 inch squares. Chop the onion, and peel and chop the potatoes.
Add the salmon, salt, and onions to a pot and then add the water.
Bring the water just to the boiling point, but don’t allow it to boil! Reduce the heat to a very low simmer and simmer until the fish flakes when poked with a fork. This generally only takes 5-10 minutes for me.
Drain the liquid into a container-this is now a fish stock and will still be used for the soup. Set aside the salmon and onions, pour the stock back into the pot, and add the potatoes.
Simmer the potatoes in the stock until they’re tender. The size of your potato pieces will dictate how long this takes, but it isn’t likely to take more than 15 minutes. Check your potatoes often with a fork to avoid boiling them into mush.
Add the fish and onions back to the pot, then pour in the milk and add chives.
Bring back to a low simmer and simmer without boiling for 20 minutes. Add butter in small pats to the top and let it melt into the soup.
Serve with your favorite hearty bread and enjoy!
If you prefer, you could swap out the salmon for a different freshwater fish, like trout. Just clean it and remove bones prior to beginning.
This soup is traditionally made with dill. I don’t use a lot of dill in my cooking because my husband just does not have a taste for it! If you do enjoy dill, you can add 1/2 tsp of dried dill at the beginning with the salmon and onions. You can also remove the chives and replace them with a little fresh dill instead.
I have sometimes done 50/50 white and sweet potatoes, and I love the result.
I use whole milk. If you want it really creamy you can do half n half.
- 1 lb salmon filet
- 2 teaspoons salt (fine sea salt or kosher salt)
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 cups water
- 4-5 potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp dried chives
- 2 Tbsp butter
- If not already done, clean fish and remove skin. Cut into pieces, approximately 2 inch squares.
- Place the fish in a pot, add the onion and salt, and cover with the water.
- Bring just to the boiling point and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer until the fish flakes when poked with a fork. Check often, you don't want it to get mushy.
- Drain the pot and set aside the fish & onions. The water is now the fish stock for the soup; return it to the pot and add the potatoes.
- Simmer the potatoes in the stock until tender. Time will depend on the size of the pieces, up to 15 minutes or so.
- Return the salmon and onion mixture to the soup and add the chives and the milk.
- Simmer at a very low simmer for 20 minutes.
- If you are not going to serve the soup in the pot you prepared it in, transfer it before you add the butter.
- Slice the butter into thin pats and place them on the top of the soup.
1. I recommend serving with rye bread, sourdough, or another dense, crusty bread. Rye would be the most authentic. According to Beatrice Ojakangas, and seconded by my own travels in Finland, the Finns often serve butter and cheese with the rye to accompany this soup as well.
2. Squeezing a lemon wedge over your soup is a fine idea.
3. Traditionally this is made flavored with dill. Mine is not, because my husband does not prefer it. If you do, add 1/2 tsp dried dill along with the onions and salmon at the beginning, and omit the chives.
4. A mix of sweet and white potatoes goes very well in this soup as well.
Questions? Comments? Results? Leave them in the comment box below!