Fish Soup (Ψαρόσουπα)

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Fish Soup

A classic Greek fish soup made with cod, vegetables and flavoured with lemon


This is one of those recipes that just sounds more appetizing in Greek. Perhaps there is a better translation that we could have come up with, maybe cod and root vegetable bouillabaisse, or seafood chowder with a hint of lemon, but ultimately we decided on the rather unappetizing name of fish soup; this is the literal translation of psarosoupa (Ψαρόσουπα) and we tend to be purists…some of the time. Our tsoureki and feta grilled cheese, our spanakopatata and our Greek-style Cobb salad showcase our freewheeling, wild side…but we digress.

The reality is, this soup is unpretentious by nature and therefore shouldn’t be called anything more than what it is. It’s a soup…with fish in it. Sure, there are other things like carrots, celery, fennel (now that IS kind of fancy) and lemon juice, but the fish is the star.

Fish Soup

It had actually been years since our parents made this recipe, despite it being a very popular meal when we were growing up. We remember our mother watching us closely as we enjoyed our bowl of soup, slightly paranoid that we would wind up choking on an errant fish bone that she hadn’t managed to pick out. At that time she made psarosoupa with a variety of fish, all purchased at a fishmonger she trusted would sell her only the freshest, best quality fish possible.

Since that time, her favourite fish market closed and she developed a mistrust of much of the fish she found available for purchase; it never seemed good enough. And so, the days of psarosoupa on the regular menu rotation slowly became further and further apart until they were simply no more.

When we initially asked our parents for the recipe to their delicious psarosoupa (we could still remember how much we loved it), they hesitated, offering instead to make a nice lamb roast or moussaka. But, we insisted and persisted, and suggested that the psarosoupa could be made with only cod, a fish they still enjoyed and ate regularly. So, here it is, a recipe slightly modified from their original version, but still as delicious as we remember it.


Helpful hints

Can this soup be made with any fish?

Sure it can! If you live where the selection of good quality fish abounds, feel free to use whatever firm white fish you enjoy. You an also add in some salmon or trout. This soup is your oyster (pun totally intended)!

Do we use fresh cod or salted cod in this fish soup?

Fresh cod (or cod that has been previously frozen) is what our parents use, but you can also use salted cod if you like. The important thing to remember with salted cod is that you need to plan ahead as the fish needs to soak in a bowl of cold water (that you will change regularly) for several days. Unsalted cod is certainly easier for this recipe. If you have some salted cod you’re looking to use, check out this lovely classic Greek recipe for bakaliaro and skordalia.

Is it best to purchase farmed fish or wild caught fish?

We tend to purchase wild caught fish whenever we can, although farmed fish can also be a great option. We have written more about this question on our post for cedar planked salmon. Feel free to visit that post to learn more.

Pin this recipe if you like it!

Fish Soup

Looking for more delicious soups to make? How about these classic Greek recipes:

Fasolatha

Manestra

Avgolemono soup

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Things you might need:

small frying pan

soup pot

Fish Soup
Fish Soup
Fish Soup
Fish Soup
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Fish Soup (Ψαρόσουπα)

A classic Greek fish soup made with cod, vegetables and flavoured with lemon
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: cod, fish, Greek soup
Servings: 6 people
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • Frying pan
  • Soup pot

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 12 - 14 cups (3000- 3500 mL) water
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, chopped you can use equal amounts of winter squash instead
  • 1 cup fennel, chopped the white bulb only
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 medium size white or yellow-flesh potatoes peeled and cut into quarters or halves
  • 350 grams (3/4 lb or 12 oz) fresh cod cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup (75 grams) uncooked small pasta like tubetti
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided

Instructions

  • In a small frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add the chopped onion and fry the onion until caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 12 cups of water (you may need to add more as your soup cooks). Once the water comes to a boil, add your celery, sweet potatoes (or squash), fennel, carrots and potatoes. Slowly add in the fried onions as well.
  • Cook your soup over medium heat until the vegetables are done and can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. This should take approximately about 30-40 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the white or yellow-flesh potatoes and place them in a small bowl with about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork and then return them to the soup pot.
  • With the soup still over medium heat, add in your pasta and the cod. Add the salt and pepper. Cook your soup until the pasta and cod have been cooked through; this should take between 10-15 minutes. Add up to 2 cups more water at any point if you feel your soup is too thick.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl add the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of liquid from the pot. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth. Add to the soup, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to thicken slightly for a few minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Be sure to check your cod fillet for any bones and remove them before adding the fish to your soup. 
If at any time, you see your soup getting too thick, boil some water, and add it while it's cooking.
If you have leftovers; you might have to add some water, before reheating.

4 thoughts on “Fish Soup (Ψαρόσουπα)

  1. My first experience of fish soup was after a funeral for my precious Aunt Georgia in my papou’s village near Argos. They used the whole fish. It was very tasty and I did enjoy it until I bit down on something hard…an eye. That turned the tide for me but because all eyes were on the niece from America, I continued with my meal. Hunger does that!

    1. Oh man!! That is quite a memory Stephanie! Reading your comment we thought you were going to share that you bit down on a bone or something. An eye!! Yikes! Hopefully our recipe will have you consider fish soup again – cod fillets are used (no eyeballs anywhere near the pot!! ) 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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