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Baltic fish soup

Fish is an essential ingredient in the Baltic states. It is used fresh, dried, canned and smoked. This soup is core to the region with variations between countries and regions. It is called "Zivju zupa" in Latvia, "Zuvienè" in Lithuania, and "Kalasupp" in Estonia. No matter its name, this essential soup is delicious!

The basis for the flavour is the simple fish stock made in the first step of the soup. The vegetables are added later and the large quantities of dill make the soup come alive. The soup is a beautiful balance of fish and herbs. It is a hot comfort soup that will fill your belly and keep your soul happy. I served it with simple sourdough toast, and that was a very healthy dinner.

This is a wonderful cookbook of recipes from the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It is filled with recipes that are both traditional and contemporary. I will admit that I do not know much about the cuisine of this region, and this book is educating me. It is a beautiful book with stunning photographs of the land, the people and the dishes.

For more recipes from this wonderful cookbook, click here.


2 lb whole fish, or fish fillets from sea bass, red snapper or cod

10 cups water

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced

2 celery sticks, finely diced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 bunch of dill, finely minced

2 allspice berries or 2 pinches of allspice powder

1 large potato, peeled if desired and cut into small cubes

1 leek, well washed and cut into thin half moons

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons dill, minced

2 teaspoons chives, snipped

2 teaspoons parsley, minced

Add the fish and salt to the water and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the top and simmer for 10 minutes till the fish is cooked through and soft. Remove from the heat keeping the stock and fish.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook on low heat till the vegetables and onions are very soft, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown.

Add flour and stir in coating the vegetables. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes till the flour is cooked. Add the stock and mix in so that there are no lumps left. Bring to a simmer and add the dill, allspice, potatoes, and leeks. Simmer for 15-20 minutes till the potatoes are cooked through and soft.

Cut the fish fillets and add to the stock and simmer for 2 minutes. If you are using a whole fish, remove the meat discarding all the bones and the skin.

Serve hot garnished with fresh herbs, dill, chives and parsley.

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