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Apr 16, 2022

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup

This Scandinavian-style fish and potato soup, with cod, dill, and chives, makes a creamy and comforting meal. 

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in a bowl.

A small bowl of this fish and potato soup with a salad and a slice of crusty bread makes a wonderful lunch, and a big bowl is filling enough for dinner. 

While this soup is mild in taste, the flavors are still surprisingly complex. The potatoes, along with a white sauce, add a chowder-like texture to the soup, and the broth itself is loaded with flavor. 

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in two bowls.

Ingredients you will need to to make this soup:

From your pantry: onions, shallots, bay leaves, kosher salt, and pepper

Cod: I usually keep a bag of individually wrapped frozen cod filets in my freezer, which come in handy for making this soup. You don't even have to fully thaw the filets. Just partially thaw them and cut them into bite-sized pieces. 

Of course you can use fresh cod, or any non fatty white fish such as rockfish or halibut. You can also toss in some peeled and deveined shrimp along with the white fish. 

For the Broth: You can use a combination of clam juice, white wine, and shrimp base, or any combination of these ingredients. If you have some shrimp shells in the freezer, you can boil them to make an amazing shrimp stock

Béchamel Sauce: This is a sauce that consists of flour cooked in butter with added milk, which thickens as it cooks. It is also known as white sauce. If you want to skip making béchamel, just substitute heavy cream. 

Additional ingredients: chives, fresh dill, and saffron threads. I'm lucky to have a friend who brought a generous stash of saffron threads home for me from her travels. When I run out of this saffron, I highly recommend Rumi Spice as a source for authentic saffron. Read more about their mission (not sponsored, I'm just impressed with the company). 

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in a bowl.

How to make this Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup: 

First, cook the onions and shallots, along with the dill, in butter or oil. 

Next, add the stock ingredients, the potatoes, the bay leaf, and the saffron, salt and pepper, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender. 

After that, add the fish and cook for an additional minute or two, until the fish is opaque, and then add the béchamel and cook gently until just heated. 

Finally, add the chives and serve. 

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in a bowl.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

You can play around with the broth depending on what you have on hand. I used a combination of clam juice, shrimp base mixed with water, and white wine. You could also use any fish base, or just stick with all clam juice or clam juice and white wine. 

For the fish, as mentioned, you could use rockfish or halibut instead. You could also add in shrimp and scallops to further enrich the soup. 

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in a bowl with a spoon.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers:

While this soup is best the day it is made, you can reheat leftovers as long as you reheat them gently. Because of the dairy, do not boil the soup to reheat it. 

Place any leftovers into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. 

Welcome to this month's Soup Saturday Swappers. Our theme this month is Potatoes! I'm a huge fan of potatoes, especially in soup! 

Be sure to check out everyone's recipes featuring potatoes:

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup in two bowls.

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup

Scandinavian-Style Fish and Potato Soup
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This Scandinavian-style fish and potato soup, with cod, dill, and chives, makes a creamy and comforting meal.


For the Béchamel
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Soup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 8 ounces water plus 1 1/2 teaspoons shrimp or fish base (or 4 ounces clam juice)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) dry white wine (see note in post about substitutions for the clam juice, fish base, and white wine)
  • 1 pound peeled Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • large pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod filets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 recipe Béchamel sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives


To Make the Béchamel
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until just bubbly around the edges. You can also heat it in the microwave.
  2. In another saucepan, heat the butter in a small sauce pan until melted and bubbly. Add the flour and whisk until the flour is no longer raw.
  3. Slowly pour in the heated milk, whisking constantly until incorporated and the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the salt.
  4. Save in the refrigerature until ready to use, up to 5 days.
To Make the Soup
  1. In a 4-quart sauce pan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and shallots and cook over medium low until the onions and shallots are tender and slightly browned. Add the dill and cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the clam juice, water, shrimp base, and white wine, potatoes, bay leaf, saffron, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the cut cod and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for one minute.
  4. Lower the heat and stir in the béchamel sauce and heat through. Do not bring to a boil or the mixture may curdle.
  5. Sprinkle the top with chives and serve.

Nutrition Facts



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cod, béchamel, potatoes
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Would you like to comment?

  1. This sounds so good Karen. Perfect for a Fish Friday or a Soup Saturday.

  2. Amazing soup recipe Karen! Love the creaminess and is also loaded with nutrients!


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