From Stock to Bowl - Norwegian Monkfish Soup from Scratch (Day 1)

Welcome to the journey of creating an exquisite monkfish stock. Today marks the beginning of a culinary adventure where you’ll experience the gathering and preparation of a range of fresh ingredients.

As you embark on this process, you’ll find yourself engaging with the flavors that form the backbone of a delightful soup.

The method may begin with something as simple as sautéing onions until they’re translucent or simmering a fish head to perfection, but every step is crafted to enrich the broth that will soon be your absolute favorite!

After the groundwork is set with our aromatic stock, vibrant herbs, and a splash of wine to introduce complexity, the stage is set for crafting the soul of our fish soup.

You’ll be playing with textures and tastes, bringing together fresh monkfish, a hint of dairy, and a medley of vegetables—each component contributing to the culmination of a dish designed to impress.

The art of this soup lies not only in the harmony of its flavors but also in the simplicity of its preparation. Now, let’s prepare to explore the delicate balance of ingredients that awaits your touch.

Ingredients

To begin your culinary journey with monkfish stock, here’s what you’ll need on your kitchen counter:

  • Monkfish Head: Roughly 8 lb (almost 4 kilos), gills removed and cleaned.
  • Unsalted Butter: For sautéing.
  • Vegetables:
    • Carrots: Unpeeled, washed, and roughly chopped.
    • Celery: Cleaned and roughly chopped.
    • Onions: Roughly chopped, these will add a beautiful flavor.
  • Herbs and Spices:
    • Bay leaves, parsley, and thyme to infuse earthy tones.
    • Whole cloves and pepper for a bit of kick.
  • Liquid:
    • Wine: Exactly 2 cups of a dry, preferably quality, white wine such as a Chablis.
    • Water: Around 2 gallons to cover the ingredients in the pot.

As you sauté your onions to a translucent state, do start to contemplate how these humble beginnings will metamorphose into something far more palatable.

Once you’ve gently introduced your vegetables and the formidable monkfish head to the pot, coupled with the wine and your herb ensemble, you’ll be ready to let the mix simmer into richness.

Preparing the Base for the Stock

Set your kitchen up with all the necessary ingredients for a delightful monkfish stock that will soon transform into a rich and beautiful stock. Begin by heating unsalted butter in a pot over a low flame, preparing it for the vegetables and fish head — the cornerstone of flavor for your stock.

Procedure:

  1. Chop your carrots, celery, and onions coarsely. Since these vegetables are for stock, precision in cutting is not a priority—their flavor is what matters.
  2. Place your roughly chopped vegetables into the pot and stir them until the onions become translucent. This should take about five minutes.
  3. Introduce the fish head to the pot. There’s no need for intricate preparation—simply ensure it has been cleaned and the gills removed.
  4. If available, place a sheet of parchment paper over the pot before covering it with a lid, allowing the fish to become opaque on a gentle simmer.

Adding Wine and Spice:

  • Dry white wine (2 cups)

When the fish and vegetables have softened and melded together, pour in two cups of dry white wine and let it simmer to integrate the aromatic essence into the stock.

Spicing the Stock:

  • Create a spice sachet (if possible) or directly add your spices to the pot.

Now, reintroduce an array of aromatics to your stock, with bay leaves, parsley, thyme, cloves, and pepper contributing their signature scents and flavors. A spice sachet is optimal, but placing them directly into the mix works just as well in pinches.

Simmer and Infusion:

  • Water (around 2 gallons)

Transform your mixture into a hearty stock by adding two gallons of water and simmering it for roughly 45 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain a soft simmer, ensuring that all the ingredients infuse their flavors fully into the liquid.

Straining the Stock

After your stock ingredients have begun to meld flavors, it’s time to strain the stock and make sure the clarity and flavor are perfectly set for your Norwegian fish soup. Here’s how to ensure a smooth stock as a base for your recipe:

  1. Cease Simmering: When your stock has simmered sufficiently, it’s ready for the next phase. 45 minutes should be plenty.
  2. Preparing to Strain:

    • Make sure you have a large enough container to catch your strained stock.
    • Set up a fine-mesh strainer over the container. For an extra layer of finesse, line the strainer with cheesecloth.
  3. Removal of Large Ingredients:

    • Carefully take out the fish head and any large vegetable pieces with tongs. This step helps prevent splashing and makes straining easier.
  4. Straining the Liquid: Pour the remaining contents of the pot into the lined strainer. Allow the liquid to pass through, leaving the solids behind.
  5. Discarding Solids: Once all liquid has been filtered, discard the solids. These have given their flavor to the stock and are no longer needed.
  6. Clear Stock: Check the clarity of your stock. If necessary, strain again for a finer broth suited for your elegant fish soup.
  7. Cooling and Storing:

    • Cool the stock promptly to preserve its freshness.
    • If not using immediately, pour into storage containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for a longer shelf life of up to 2 months.

I strongly recommend trying out the stock in my Norwegian monkfish soup. See the recipe here.

Monkfish Stock

Torstein Rottingen
A rich fish stock made from herbs, vegetables, vine, and monkfish bones
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Stock
Cuisine Norwegian
Servings 1.2 gallon

Equipment

  • 1 Large pot It needs to fit at least two gallons.
  • 1 Chef's Knife
  • 1 Chopping block
  • 1 Sink For cleaning the monkfish bones

Ingredients
  

  • 3 springs Fresh thyme
  • 3 Pepper corns
  • 1 whole clove
  • 4 springs Parsley
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 stalk Cellery
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • 4 pounds Monkfish bones with skin and meat
  • 1 cup Dry white wine
  • 1 gallon Water It needs to be consumable

Instructions
 

  • Chop your carrots, celery, and onions coarsely. Since these vegetables are for stock, precision in cutting is not a priority—their flavor is what matters.
  • Place your roughly chopped vegetables into the pot and stir them until the onions become translucent. This should take about five minutes.
  • Introduce the fish head to the pot. There's no need for intricate preparation—simply ensure it has been cleaned and the gills removed. If available, place a sheet of parchment paper over the pot before covering it with a lid, allowing the fish to become opaque on a gentle simmer.
  • Add the dry white wine and all the herbs and spices: Bay leaves, parsley, thyme, whole cloves and pepper. Preferably in a spice-bag.
  • Add the water and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Strain the stock: Make sure you have a large enough container to catch your strained stock.Set up a fine-mesh strainer over the container. I recommend removing the fish bones before straining.
  • Cool and store the stock in plastic bottles. Leave a little room in the bottles for expansion if you decide to freeze the stock.

Video

From Stock to Bowl - Norwegian Monkfish Soup from Scratch (Day 1)

Notes

The broth should be good for a few days in the fridge, or up to two months in the freezer.
Make sure to mark the date and contents of your containers if you decide to freeze the broth.
Keyword monkfish, monkfish stock
Torstein Rottingen

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