Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kitchen Alchemy 101- Kjötsúpa (Lamb Soup)

Kitchen Alchemy 101

Kjötsúpa (Lamb Soup) Serves 6-8

By Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir

Lamb Soup is considered the “national soup” in Iceland. It is common to see sheep on the side of the major roads happily eating the grass. Motorists know that all livestock in Iceland have the right of way and must yield to them while driving. Sheep were brought to Iceland by the Vikings. The wool is highly prized for its thickness and high lanolin content.

  • 3 pounds (1,5 kg) lamb shoulder, on the bone, cut in large pieces
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 6 cups (1,5 liters) water
  • 2-3 tbsp dried mixed vegetables and herbs* (from a soup mix) ( I have used herbs that would have been most likely imported from Europe to Iceland like rosemary)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound (½ kg) rutabaga, cut in an even ½-inch dice
  • ½ pound (250 grams) small potatoes, (or use parsnips for a more period taste) peeled and cut in an even ½-inch dice
  • ½ pound (250 grams) carrots, peeled and cut in an even ½-inch dice

Place the meat and onion in a large pan and pour cold water over it. Heat to boiling point, let boil rapidly for a few minutes, then skim. Add dried vegetables and some salt and pepper and simmer for around 40 minutes. Add rutabagas, potatoes and carrots and simmer for 20-25 minutes more, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste. The meat is either served in the soup or removed and served on a separate plate, but it is always eaten with the soup. Some cut it up small, then add it back to the soup, others would eat it from a separate plate. (When I was in Iceland the meat was always served in the soup.)

“Other versions of the soup may add or substitute other vegetables, like cabbage, kale or turnips, and a fistful of oats or rice was sometimes added to thicken it to more of a stew.”

This is always served with fresh bread and butter. Flatbrauð also “Flat Bread” is common bread served in Iceland. Fresh farm bread is also served warm with fresh butter.

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