This Finnish Salmon Soup, known as Lohikeitto in the homeland, is to die for. Creamy and hearty, it is guaranteed to warm your soul on cold fall and winter days. Plus, it's really easy and quick to make - ready in a half an hour!
As an avid traveler, I have a list of my dream destinations. It's sort of a bucket list. One of these places is Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region. Yeah yeah, the place where Santa Claus and his elves live! However our Christmas symbol is not the reason why I want to get there. Or at least it wasn't the reason till my son was born three months ago. Now, it goes without saying that we would visit Santa's village together! I can't even imagine how happy my son would be there and it warms my heart to even think about it.
Let's get back to the main reason why Lapland is in my dream list. The Northern Lights. It's the unforgettable light show, created by Mother Nature, which you can observe in the sky. In Lapland the Northern Lights are visible on about 200 nights a year! How awesome is that? I even have a fantastic place in mind where I would love to be while gazing at the night sky - these AMAZING glass igloos. I've just shed a manly tear while looking at this picture.
There is one more thing you should know about Lapland. Winters are freezing cold and long there - the region lies north of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures can reach as low as -40°C or -40°
Why salmon? Well, Finland has an abundance of it. The Tana river, which flows through Lapland, is said to be the best salmon river in the whole world. Even the world's record for the biggest Atlantic salmon is held by a fish caught in this river - it was 36 kilograms (79 lb). It's something, isn't it?
I am actually a huge salmon fan. Life without salmon is barely worth living to me. I love it seared, baked, smoked, grilled, poached, cured in salt, you name it. I enjoy it in salads, spreads, patties, chowders and of course soups! Needless to say, Lohikeitto was right up my alley. This Finnish salmon soup uses cream as a base and is made of salmon chunks, potatoes, leeks and generously garnished with dill. It doesn't sound too fancy, but believe me, it has everything you need.
I used heavy cream but you can substitute it with lighter one. There are some versions of this salmon soup floating around the internet with cornstarch as a thickening agent, but the authentic recipe doesn't use any thickeners at all. The traditional recipe uses fish stock, so did I. I've made it from the salmon heads and bones by myself but you can easily use liquid store-bought one. It won't be a huge issue if you'll use water instead of the fish stock too.
To sum up - this salmon soup is definitely a winner. I can understand why it is so popular in Finland. It warms you up instantly and can keep you going all day long. Lohikeitto is full of flavor and has a wonderful texture. I've already eaten two plates of this goodness today. Thinking about grabbing the third one, but I probably won't have enough space in my stomach. Bummer! It's really filling! I don't know about you - but this is my new soup favorite. Cold winter days are approaching but with Lohikeitto I am not afraid of them. At all.
Finnish Salmon Soup - Lohikeitto
- ½ stick (¼ cup or about 50 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 5 cups (1,25l) fish stock (can be substituted with water)
- 1 lb (450g) potatoes, cubed
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 lb (450g) salmon fillet, de-boned, de-skinned and cut into small chunks
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (10g) fresh dill for garnish, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a pot. Add the sliced leek and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Add the stock, carrot and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. At this point the potatoes should be almost ready.
- Add the salmon chunks and the cream, and cook for about 5-7 minutes more, until it starts to boil.
- Turn off the heat and add the dill, salt and pepper. Close the lid and wait for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!
I am sensitive to nightshade foods. Can white sweet potatoes, or other recommendations would be appreciated, to substitute the standard potato in this recipe? Thank you!
If you want to stick to ingredients traditionally used in Finnish cuisine, then rutabaga and turnip are options. Jerusalem artichoke is also used as a replacement for potato and has been cultivated in Finland since the 17th century. Sweet potatoes can be used, though it probably makes the soup sweeter and they are somewhat softer. They're also not part of traditional Finnish cuisine, but as far as that goes, some have also used fennel and zucchini as replacements in salmon soup.
Highly recommend this recipe. It is delicious. I didn't make any changes but one. Since I had no salmon heads/scraps for making a fish stock, I cut off the salmon skin and cooked it along with the potatoes and carrots. Remove before serving...
Brilliant. I’m not Finnish but I’ve eaten it in Finland and this tasted exactly like what I had. Yummy