Sopa de Bacalao – Cod and Spinach Soup

If you do an internet search for a typical Spanish soup called Sopa de Bacalao, you’ll find many versions of a firm favourite. I don’t lay claim to my version being authentic, especially as it uses a very non Spanish ingredient – Ras El Hanout – but as the spice mix comes from North Africa and there are such very strong connections between Africa and Andalucía, I feel no one will be up in arms.

The ingredient list is short and simple, the preparation too. But the taste, oh the taste, your friends and family will think you’ve spent hours reducing stock to achieve the intensity of flavour.

Sopa de Bacalao (3)

Ingredients (to serve 2-4 as a main or starter)

  • 1 large cod fillet, skinned and cut into bite sized chunks (use either fresh cod or desalted salt cod)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • About 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Ras El Hanout
  • About 1.25l of either fish stock or water (if you use a cube to make your stock, I won’t tell!)
  • A little olive oil

Start by sweating the onion and garlic until softened then add the potatoes. Toss them around in the oil until they are all coated in oil then add the Ras El Hanout and mix in. Pour over the stock and cook until the potatoes are almost done.

Add the cod and cook for a minute or two until the fish is cooked. Taste and season if necessary and then add the spinach. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and wait for the spinach to wilt before serving with plenty of fresh lemon to squeeze over.


52 thoughts on “Sopa de Bacalao – Cod and Spinach Soup

  1. Wonderful! And yes, we have many north african influences, not only in Andalucia, but all over Spain. Some are almonds, honey, saffron and comino. 🙂

  2. “Cod be praised!” I remember that episode of the Goodies where they rescued that cod from the Norwegians and it grew to gargantuan size (Grahams megalomania rearing it’s ugly head again 😉 )…I wouldn’t use cod here but I wonder if tofu with a tinge of nori might at least get me someplace in the flavour ballpark? No? Oh well…I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold 😉

    1. Oh “Cod” I used to love the Goodies! I sometimes make a veggie version of this soup with dried mushrooms and used the soaking liquid to cook the potatoes…not at all similar, but very good nonetheless…

      1. Sounds lovely :). I dried mushrooms last year and still have some left and you are right, they taste incredible. Very intense and vibrant and they are meaty in texture and might play the part of the cod. Glad you are a fellow Goodies aficionado…they were WAY ahead of their time 🙂

      2. I don’t believe it!!!! I have had a blog post on the back burner for AGES all about this specific episode and couldn’t find any images to accompany it and now I can share it with all of my dear constant readers thanks to one of my amazing wonderful blog huggers :). YOU RULE girl and you didn’t even know you were doing me a huge favour in the process. I owe you. Probably not my first born son because technically I have had to give him away several times over now and he is getting a little pissed off with me in the process…”mum…I have to go to work. I can’t head over to Cyprus because someone sent you some seeds!” ;). Cheers again Tanya, you ROCK girl. Now that post can have the spiderwebs dusted off it and can go out to print ASAP 🙂

      3. Yay – just save me a kidney instead should I ever be in need! They were way ahead of their time really weren’t they when you look at the issues they were raising – and they were funny too 🙂 Glad to have (inadvertently) been of help…

      4. You gave me the episode, better than “help” any day 🙂 Now I can bypass the greenwash and go straight to the horses mouth! 😉

  3. Bacalao: hmm!! Ras el Hanout: almost every week ~ so delicious finding out what differing spice merchants put in that!! ‘Best in the shop’: well, it does vary!! But putting it together in a soup: yes, soonest. Tho’ the fish will be a firm one, not necessarily bacalao 😀 !

    1. It was interesting to read about the Ras el Hanout – I guess no two will taste quite the same! I’ve made this with hake fillets too, as you say, any firm fish would be good.

  4. T – I myself am inspired to go with a fish theme tonight as a result of reading your blog, however, the ingredients available mean that I shall be indulging in that old favourite – the fish finger sandwich! Seen loads of people picking blackberries at the side of the road, and loads of windfalls brought in by colleagues in boxes for people to help themselves in the kitchen. Was donated a marrow and loads of tomatoes last week, so loads of chutney going on! Lynn x x

  5. This was one of the few posts I shared with Zia, Tanya. (She sends her love.) It’s just too frustrating trying to get posts to load. She is as interested in this dish as I am. I hope to bring some baccalà with me on my next visit and we’ll find out together. 🙂

    1. Ahh, I’m flattered and happy that Zia got to see it – and I hope you sent her love from us! Welcome back, we’ve missed you – wish I could send you some baccalá but I’m not sure US Customs would be too happy about it 😦

  6. I have missed visiting your blog Chica! Always something delicious to be found. This soup looks divine and I think I shall add it to my menu this week. 🙂

  7. I can’t wait to try this soup, I love both cod and spinach, but with cod I ran out of ideas on how to cook it and here is a new one. it looks delicious, thanks!

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