Finnish Salmon Soup (Финская уха) or Lohikeitto, is delicious and creamy Salmon soup, popular across Scandinavia and Northwestern Russia. Usually made Salmon heads and bones for the broth, this soup is delicious and full of vitamins and minerals.
In Russia, this style of soup is called Ukha, which is the clear broth version of this soup. Finnish Fish Soup has whipping cream in it, which mellows out the fishiness of the soup. It's a creamy Ukha Soup, and easier to make than you think!
St Petersburg (2nd largest city in Russia which is located in NW Russia) and Finland are only 200km apart, and it's only natural that there are recipes in common across the cultures. Over the centuries, the borders kept changing (first border treaty with Russia was signed in 1323) and Finnish people lived in what is Russia today.
Salmon Head Broth
The fish broth for Salmon Soup is made with Salmon heads, the more in the pot, the merrier. I used to call this Fish Head Soup as a kid, and it really grossed me out. I was scared of the fish heads, but your don't eat them! Of course you strain the broth before you add the chunky fish fillets, leaving a delicious and nutritious fish soup.
The Salmon Head Broth makes a flavourful bouillon soup base, just like when you make a bone broth with beef or chicken soup. It's a simple stock with only onions, peppercorns, water and the fish heads. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes. If the water is reduces due to boiling, you can add more water so you have about 3 litres of finished soup stock.
Straining Fish Head Broth
You definitely need to strain the fish broth, so it is as clean and clear as you can get. I just use a colander and cheesecloth, and strain the broth, and discard the leftovers. When making Ukha Soup, you want a very clear broth, as it's visible and visually appealing. With Lohikeitto, it's a creamy broth, so just straining it though a cheesecloth is enough.
How to Make Salmon Soup
After you Fish Broth is done, it's a very easy soup to finish (get it)! I start by prepping the Salmon. Use boneless, skinless Salmon fillets that you can buy in any grocery store. You don't want the fish skin and scales in the soup. Cut them into chunkier pieces, about 2" cubed. If they are cut too small, they will fall apart.
Sauté leeks in butter until they are softened. Sometimes I sauté the carrots at the same time with the leeks, or you can add them in later. Bring the fish stock to a boil, and add the cubed potatoes, sautéed leeks, carrots, and bay leaves. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften.
Add your chunks of Salmon into the Salmon Soup. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the salmon is cooked. Finally add the whipping cream, fresh dill and season with salt and black pepper.
- You can add 2 celery sticks when cooking the fish stock, as it's a taste people like in soups, however it wasn't in the original fish soups
- No Leek? No Problem! Just use a finely diced onion
- Thicken this soup with cornstarch and water for a thicker consistency. I suggest 3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 5 tablespoons of water, then added to pot and cook for 2 minutes until it thickens.
Don't let Salmon heads or fish bones in the soup scare you away from making this delicious soup. We think nothing of eating New England Clam Chowder or a Seafood Chowder. This recipe is along those lines, and even more nutritious. You won't go wrong with Russian Ukha or Salmon Soup. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Salmon Head Broth
- 1 large Salmon frame bones, including head and tail, or several Salmon heads
- 1 onion peeled and cut in half
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 10 cups water
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
- 3 carrots 1 for stock, 2 for soup
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 leek sliced thinly (white part only)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 lb /500g boneless Salmon filets
- 1 cup of whipping cream
- bunch of dill
- chopped green onion as garnish optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Salmon Head Broth
- In a large pot, put the Salmon bones with head, the onion, 1 carrot, a teaspoon of salt, whole peppercorns and water then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Skim off any impurities or foam.
- Strain the soup through a cheesecloth inside a colander (over a large bowl) the ensure the broth is clear and free of impurities. Discard the Salmon bones and vegetables, or give the fish to your cat.
- In a frying pan, melt butter and sauté the leeks until they soften. Set aside.
- Return fish stock to the pot and add the chopped potatoes, sautéed leeks, 2 sliced carrots and bay leafs. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the boneless Salmon pieces, which should be cut in approx 2" cubed pieces. If the pieces are cut too small and thin, they will fall apart. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add whipping cream and stir.
- Add chopped dill, season with salt and pepper according to taste. This recipe loves black pepper.
- Garnish with chopped green onion or parsley.