Reindeer Soup


2019-01-05

Reindeer meat is as delicious as it is expensive, so finding a good cooking method is crucial to avoid the inner agitation that comes with self-disappointment. Soup, as you might have guessed from the title of my website, is always my first bet.

Reindeer soup could be prepared following this lamb or beef soup recipe, but I found this version online that had some interesting ingredients, so I tried it and decided to share it. In the picture below I’ve marked the ingredients that I thought are worth mentioning.

Swede (fi: lanttu), also known as rutabaga, is a root vegetable that tastes like cabbage. I’ve never seen it anywhere but Finland, so I’m guessig it’s a part of the Nordic gastronomy, since Finland gets most of its cuisine from Sweden. I don’t know if that’s how you’re supposed to prepare it, but I like to make mashed rutabaga with cardamom powder and a little bit of butter.

Allspice isn’t commonly used neither in Spain nor in Finland, and it reminds me of the American pumpkin spice, which is why I thought it was a curious choice to add to meat soup. As a fun fact, when I was a newbie in Finland, I knew that black pepper was called mustapippuri. I once went to a store and bought maustepippuri (aka allspice), thinking it sounded close enough. It took me a while to realize that mauste meant spice and musta meant black. And to be honest, back then I couldn’t even tell that the spice I was using wasn’t black pepper.

Juniper berries (fi: katajanmarja) are a common ingredient in Finland, and they’re even used in cosmetics. They smell piney, which makes sense because juniper trees are conifers.

Norwegian angelica (fi: väinönputki) is a herb I had never heard of, and surprisingly it wasn’t hard to find. The best word to -inaccurately- describe its taste would be fennel-y.

If you ever find yourself in Northern Europe, make yourself a favor and prepare this soup for you and your friends!

Ingredients:

  • 1kg reindeer meat
  • Reindeer meat broth
  • 1 swede
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 potatoes
  • Dried Norwegian angelica

Ingredients for the broth:

  • 1kg reindeer bones
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 8 allspice corns
  • Parsley stems
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the broth: put all the ingredients in a slow cooker or pot and simmer for 4 hours. Then strain the liquid to use it in the soup.
  2. Peel the root vegetables and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces as well.
  4. Add the root vegetables and the meat to a pot and cover them with the broth you prepared.
  5. Simmer for 2 to 4 hours, depending on which kind of meat cut you’ve got.
  6. Sprinkle some dried Norwegian angelica before serving.