March 2013: Finland

reindeer_stewQuick Facts

Official Language(s): Finnish and Swedish
Some Other Languages Spoken: Estonian, Livvi, Romani, Saami
Ethnic Groups: Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.6%, Russian 0.5%, Estonian 0.3%, Roma (Gypsy) 0.1%, Sami 0.1%

Food Facts:
The cuisine of Finland is known for being very simple, pure, and fresh. Influences are apparent from the east and west (Russia and Sweden, respectively) creating distinct regional variations, but traditional roots are evident throughout the country. Common ingredients include meat, fish, oats, berries, mushrooms and other vegetables available seasonally. Breads made from various grains, such as barley, oat, rye, and wheat, are also a staple in Finland.

Recipe: Recipe: Poronkäristystä (Sauteed reindeer served with potatoes, lingonberry jam, and pickles)
Thinly sliced reindeer meat is fried in fat, lightly seasoned and served over mashed or pureed potatoes with sugared lingonberries and pickles on the side. Traditionally, the stew is only flavored with salt, however, other flavor components (onions, pepper, beer, cream, etc.) are often introduced. The stew is one of the most popular traditional meals in the Lapland area of Europe, which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of Russia. The accompaniements often differ between countries, but the reindeer stew is generally prepared the same way.

500 g reindeer, thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
Butter, for frying
1 onion
10 whole peppercorns
Beer or water (to cover)

For Serving:
Mashed Potatoes
Lingonberry Jam (or sugared lingonberries)

Sprinkle salt on the sliced meat. Heat butter over medium high heat in an oven-proof pan. Fry the sliced meat with the onions and peppercorns until nicely browned. Add beer until it just covers the meat. Put in the oven at 200°C for one hour.
When tender, spoon the meat over mashed potatoes. Serve lingonberry jam and pickles on the side.

Serves 2.


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