January 11, 2009

Swedish Fishsoup

I was introduced to this recipe by my friend Jenny, through a MOMS Club Cooking Club meeting. Jenny is from Sweden, and this is a dish that they eat in her homeland all the time. Albeit, not traditionally Swedish in origin, it definitely has been modified to become a Swedish favorite.
I will admit, when I first heard that she was making this for Cooking Club I was hesitant. Okay, scared would be a better description. I mean, when you are playing to a crowd (or demonstrating a new recipe to a diverse group of moms) you typically do not go with a seafood soup that has curry overtones. Typically, it is just too controversial and unfamiliar. I am the first to admit that I was really, really skeptical. With that said, I still went and I still tried it. I am really glad that I had an open mind, because this soup turned out to be awesome. Jenny totally won me over! This soup is full of flavor and is totally satisfying. It is quick and easy to make, delicious, and fairly healthy. Since we already ate dinner, I will just combine my review with my commentary.
When I told my husband that this is what we were having for dinner, I got some raised eyebrows. I asked him to trust me and go with it. Thankfully, he found it just as yummy as I did. My son loved it, too. He got a kick out of eating the "scrimps" in the dish.

On a side note: I was asked today how we get my son to eat so many different types of food. As you may have guessed from earlier posts, we don't make special meals or different "kid food" for my almost-three-year-old son to eat at dinner time. He eats what we eat. I subscribe to the belief that I am not a short-order cook, and I refuse to make different, special meals to suit every ones individual tastes. Also, I think it is important that kids get exposed to different foods, so they can develop a love of diverse flavors and a sophisticated palate. My son eats a lot of things that a typical three-year-old would not touch with a ten foot pole (Swedish Fishsoup being one of them).
As a matter of principle, I don't label any of my recipes as "kid friendly" because in my house, all my recipes are "kid friendly". Now there are exceptions, especially if I can't get dinner on the table on time or if he isn't feeling well. But those instances are rare and definitely not the norm at our house. I do give him a little more flexibility at breakfast and lunch; typically giving him two options to choose from that are more kid-palatable. I try to keep his meals balanced and healthy, but still incorporate fun stuff every once in awhile, too. My main goal is to have him like a variety of food and not be afraid to branch out and try new things. This method may not be right for everyone, but it works for us. As a result, I have a little boy who will eat almost anything...vegetables included. Okay, that was kind of a tangent, but I thought I would try and explain how our 'family dinner policy' worked.

Anyway, here is the Swedish Fishsoup recipe. Don't be scared...just try it. If you like seafood and curry flavors, this will be right up your alley. Thanks Jenny, for broadening my horizons! Smaklig Mảltid!

Swedish Fishsoup

400-600 grams frozen boneless cod in pieces
1 big yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp yellow curry
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cubes of fish bouillon
4 cups water
1 ¾ cup white wine
500 gram peeled precooked frozen shrimp
½ cup crème fraiche
Dill to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Black pepper to taste

1. Defrost cod slightly and cut in bite-sized pieces.

2. Press garlic and sauté with chopped onion and curry in butter.

3. Add tomato paste, water, bouillon and wine and let it come to a boil.

4. Add fish and boil 5 min or until fish is flaky yet still firm.

5. Add black pepper, chopped dill, crème fraiche and shrimp. Heat until shrimp is thawed and warm. Serve with freshly baked bread.

Jen's Notes:
I did not have cod, so I used 2 fillets of frozen tilapia. Also, I used raw shrimp that I just added and cooked in the broth for a few minutes during the last step of the recipe (until shrimp were pink and firm). Also, I did not have fish bouillon cubes, so I substituted chicken bouillon cubes. Lastly, I used dried dill instead of fresh dill. There are several online conversion calculators that will help you convert grams to ounces. Also, you could use a food scale that calculates grams for your measurements. I did not do either...I just guessed, and my soup still tasted fantastic!

I almost forget to mention...here is the bread I baked this afternoon. It seems impressive, but I cheated. I am not good at baking, so I take short cuts with my baked goods. I just thawed and baked this frozen loaf, so we could have warm bread with our soup. This particular kind comes three loaves to a package, and can be found at the normal grocery store. The best part is that they are very inexpensive. Just thaw and bake for fresh, yummy, home-style bread. Ummmm...I love warm, pillowy, crusty, bread, served with a savory soup, on a chilly winter evening.

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