Soup is the ultimate cold weather dish. If you're an ice fisherman, it stands to reason you're going to be pulling out some fish from the lake. For those days where all you want to do is warm yourself up, this versatile soup recipe is standing by. It's built around pike, but you can put most any fish into it, including yellow perch, walleye, sauger, and any other fish you pull out of the lake.
- Carcass of a 5-7 lb pike, gills and guts removed
- Sunflower, canola or safflower oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries, smashed (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Trimmings from the roots, see below
- About 10 to 20 dried morels or other dried mushrooms, crushed
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup diced celery root
- 1 golden beet or small rutabaga, peeled and diced
- 1 cup wild rice
- Meat from the pike, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Celery leaves and chives, for garnish
Dill Oil (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- Make the broth first. Pat the pike carcass dry with paper towels and coat with a little vegetable oil. Salt it well and grill it until it's nicely browned. While that's cooking, caramelize the onion in the stockpot. Cook the onion over medium-low heat in about 2 tablespoons of the same oil you used for the fish carcass.
- NOTE: If you are making the dill oil, do this while the fish is roasting and the onions are caramelizing. Put the dill and oil into a blender and puree for a solid minute to 90 seconds -- you want the mixture to heat up a little. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and pour the puree into the strainer. Let this drain untouched while you make everything else. If you find that too many solids are passing through the mesh, restart the straining process with a paper towel set inside the mesh; the oil will soak through, the dill won't.
- Once the carcass and onions are browned, add the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a bare simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, and then strain though a fine-meshed strainer with a paper towel set inside. You want a clear broth. Salt the broth to taste and keep the broth hot (but not simmering) in a pot on very low heat.
- Cook the wild rice in 2 cups of the broth until tender. Drain the rice but keep the cooking liquid.
- Use this cooking liquid to simmer your diced root vegetables until tender, about 8-15 minutes. Drain the vegetables, set them aside, and keep the liquid.
- Now use the cooking liquid to poach the pike. Add a little more broth or water if you need to. To do this, bring the liquid to a boil, drop the pike pieces in and turn off the heat. Let them poach in the hot liquid for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- To finish the soup, divide the rice, root vegetables and fish among your soup bowls and pour over the hot broth. Garnish with the chopped celery leaves and chives and drizzle a little dill oil over each bowl. Serve at once.
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