Folk Recipe – Norway

Bergen Soup and Fish Dumplings

Ingredients: Soup and Fish Dumplings

3 quarts of fish stock

4 carrots cut in 1 in by ¼ inch sticks

1 large celeriac peeled and cut into 1 inch by ¼ inch sticks

2 small parsally roots

2 celery stocks chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for thickening (if needed)

1 cup of heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons of sugar

¼ cup of good red wine vinegar

1 half cup of salted veal stock

Fine sea salt

1.5 lbs of mixed fish filet cut into 2 in chunks

3 large egg yokes

One 8 oz container of sour cream

Chopped fresh chives


Bring the fish stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the vegetables. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for five minutes.  And if you choose to use the flour, whisk it together with the cream in a small bowl. Add the cream to the soup and bring it to a boil. Then add the sugar and vinegar to taste. The soup should have a subtle sweet and sour flavor. Then add the veal stock and salt to taste. Then add the fish (fish dumplings). Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer 7 to 8 minutes until the fish just barely cook. In the mean time whisk together the sour cream and egg yoke in a small bowl. Poor the soup into the soup bowls, dividing the fish and dumplings evenly. Gently stir 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture into each bowl and sprinkle with chives.

My Grandma told me that as far as her mother was concerned, it was the Christmas soup. However, she is sure that they had it at other times because fish is such a staple Norway. She told me that with all the mountains and snow around, they would take the fish that they caught during the spring and summer and pack them with salt and eat them during the winter. When they made the soup it was often served with potato lefsa, another traditional Norwegian food.

Her mother served it every Christmas. Because they were not extremely wealthy, they would save whatever sugar and ingredients they had throughout the coming months to make the soup. They made it every Thanksgiving and Christmas, yet it was mainly known as the Christmas soup. Because the recipe is so time consuming, one needs to be taught how to do it the first couple times around. My Grandmother learned how to do it by watching and aiding her mother in the preparation. The recipe is kind of vague and a lot of things are done to taste so there are many ways that one can adapt it.

We have never made it for Christmas in my family. The tradition has kind of been lost but my Grandmother is trying to bring it back. When I asked my other family members if they ever remembered having the Christmas soup, their facial expressions turned to disgust and they told me that it is not very good. I also believe that we have not had that much Norwegian food because the BBQ has taken over. The Norwegian food took a long time to prepare to the point where everybody had known how to prepare it. The recipes were all time consuming. Our modern day substitute for the Christmas fish soup has become clam chowder.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.