Saturday, October 21, 2017

Whitefish Bisque #SoupSaturdaySwappers

Our friend, Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise, chose the fun theme of  Soups From Your State (Regional and Local Soups) for this month's Soup Saturday Swappers.  What a fantastic theme!!

Soup Saturday Swappers is a group of wonderful people that join together on the 3rd Saturday of each month to share recipes inspired by a theme chosen by one of our members.  

We would love to have you join our group.  If interested, please leave a comment along with the name of your blog in the comments below or email me at  

I live in Michigan.  Considered the Midwest but located more Midnorth.  We are about as far north as you can get unless you cross the river into Canada.  Our State was first explored by the French who came over via Canada.  Most of our cities were named by them, often using the names they had for the Native Americans who lived on our shores.  

We are surrounded by the Great Lakes that began as oceans until the ice age arrived and turned them into fresh lakes.  All those icebergs came up onto land creating the terrain that is our State.  Our State Stone is Petoskey, which was obviously ocean coral at one time.   

We have a huge conglomeration of second and third generation immigrants born here after their parents came to find work in the auto industry.  We had Polish, Greek, Irish, German, Italian and Mexican communities downstate while our Upper Peninsula attracted miners from Norway.  

We are known for our fresh fish, including perch, walleye and white fish.  Our crops include corn, sugar beets, apples, peaches, and soybeans. We hunt venison, ducks, geese, bear and wild mushrooms and berries.  We grow cattle, pork and chickens.  We have Jiffy, Kelloggs, Vernors, Faygo, Better Made and Sanders.  We have wineries, breweries, dairies and cider mills.

And I was stumped.  I mean, there are a lot of soups that I could (and have) shared from the fine State of Michigan. Corn Chowder, Venison Chili, Dill Pickle Soup, Morel Mushroom Bisque. The list goes on and on.  

Image result for savor michigan cookbook

My problem wasn't thinking of a soup from Michigan, it was finding one that I hadn't already shared. Luckily, for me, I love living in Michigan and I love eating and cooking locally. This means I have a slew of Michigan Cookbooks.  

The recipe that I'm sharing today is from Savor Michigan Cookbook.  This cookbook contains recipes from "Michigan's Finest Restaurants, Their Recipes & Their Histories".  It is an interesting read.  The book is divided by cities, and features recipes from the best restaurants in each one.  I loved reading the histories of restaurants that I have visited or that are on my list to visit.

I have had the privilege of staying and dining at The Grand Hotel, located on the pristine and unspoiled Mackinac Island.  One of the recipes being shared from them was Whitefish Bisque.  Our clear, cold, fresh northern lakes provide us with wonderful whitefish.

I served this as the soup course at a dinner party for some of our diving friends.  I adapted the recipe as the original used coconut milk and one of my guests is allergic to coconut.  I also deleted the lemongrass as I thought that flavor profile was more fitting with the coconut.

It was an elegant, beautiful and delicious first course, especially topped with the smoke trout and fennel ragout.  I was proud to serve it to my friends and pleased when more than one requested seconds.

Whitefish Bisque with Smoked Trout and Fennel Ragout
adapted from Savor Michigan Cookbook, submitted by The Grand Hotel

For the Bisque:

1 T. butter
1/2 an onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, scraped and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs whitefish, cubed
1 c. white wine
8 c. vegetable stock
2 t. dried thyme
5 baby red skin potatoes, scrubbed and diced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 c. heavy cream

For the Ragout:

1 T. olive oil
1/3 c. smoked trout
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. jagermeister liqueur 
1 T. chopped chives


Melt butter in large soup pot over low heat.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Sauté until softened and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Add the whitefish and sauté a few minutes more.

Add the wine, vegetable stock, thyme, potatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Let cook until reduced by half, 30 minutes or so.  Pour into a heavy duty blender and puree until smooth. 

Return to pan and stir in cream.  Cook gently until heated through. Do not allow to boil.  Garnish individual bowls with Ragout before serving.


Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the fennel and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.  Stir in the tomato, trout, and garlic. Cook for another minute or two then add the liqueur and chives.  Cook and stir for another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Print Recipe

I am sharing this recipe and cookbook review over at Foodies Read.  Check out what the others are reading this month

More Regional/Local Soups


  1. Phil, originally from Michigan, gave your choice two thumbs up, and wants me to make some "right away"

    see? I must....

  2. I do enjoy a bisque! This would be a great way of enjoying the trout and perch we catch during the summer. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Now this is something my husband would love. We do a lot of fresh water fishing and this would be a different way to use it.

  4. I love getting a sneak peek into everyone's home states through this month's swappers, what a fun theme, and what a delicious soup!

  5. I'm so happy that someone besides me was having an issue finding a soup with meaning, or with regional significance, that I hadn't already shared! You did a banner job! That soup looks amazing!

  6. This sounds delicious. I love the combo of white fish and smoked trout so much. I've drooling to try this Wendy. Great post!

  7. This WAS a great theme and I am excited to see your recipe. Thanks for sharing, Wendy.

  8. This looks so good, and this fish bisque is so yum.

  9. Your Bisque looks beautiful Wendy!

  10. You live in my dream fish spot...all the ones I like. You are so lucky and I am so jealous! I would definitely have to have seconds!

    1. There is nothing better in the world than a pile of fresh pan fish Colleen.


I enjoy getting comments and feedback from my audience. Please let me know what you think, keeping in mind that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. I am happy to hear yours as long as they are stated nicely.