Sauteed reindeer soup - greetings from Finland


Summer holiday is over. We had an absolutely amazing week in Finland visiting friends and family. The weather was even more unbelievable than the gorgeous summer we've enjoyed in the UK this year. The temperatures were around 28-30 C every day and even the lake water was 28 C. I was out there on my lilo slapping horseflies till 10pm.

We were treated to so much amazing food I could write about it the rest of the year. And maybe I will. One recipe at a time.

We drove around quite a lot visiting my three brothers, friends, my cousin and best childhood friend and my parents of course. Husband's kids were with us squeezed to the back seat of our hired Volvo V40 which would comfortably fit 4 normal sized people, but with these cyclopes normal laws of physics don't apply. They actually couldn't sit with their necks straight, which obviously is just academic since they never sit straight anyway bent over their smart phones like drooping flowers. Only less fragrant.

The other complaint from my otherwise adventurous entourage were the numerous mosquitoes, bees and horseflies. The warm summer has been kind to our bitey and stingy little friends. I don't mind them that much, if I feel someone biting me I just kill it, won't scratch the bite and that's it. But apparently that is not a viable strategy, much arm flailing and little-girly screaming, endless scratching and crying over the bites must ensue. The kids came up with a theory that the insects prefer fresh foreign flesh and blood and don't touch us natives. That is not the case I informed them, it's just that we have manned up and don't howl and wail about it incessantly.

And proof of this was my dad who was bitten by something at the lunch table in the garden. He was lunching in the normal Finnish holiday outfit - a pair of swimming trunks from the 1970s. We call them his phantom pants, see below why. So dad was feeling something untoward on his belly and smacked the poor beast dead with one smooth move. Judging by the mess on his belly the insect had clearly managed to already export quite a bit of blood from him. Dad just wiped away the mess with his napkin and continued slurping down his salmon soup while kids slightly hysterically laughed at the bloodshed.
Separated at birth.

So the first of our awesome culinary treats to be featured in the blog has to be this sauteed reindeer soup. My cousin and his husband had invited us for lunch and served this as a starter followed by smoked salmon with lots of different sauces and dips and salads.

I have never had this version of a reindeer soup before and asked my cousin's husband who was the brains behind this soup for detailed instructions. I had to try it immediately when we got back home. Luckily I had both reindeer meat and smoked reindeer cheese in the freezer. I am never knowingly understocked in Arctic goodies.

The soup turned out fantastic although the potatoes apparently were the wrong shape. Our hosts had actually gone to the trouble of shaping the new potatoes to resemble the Lappish small oval Puikula-tatties. I am an industrious wife, but it seems this is were I draw the line.

Sauteed reindeer soup

Rapeseed oil (or butter for taste)
1 onion, chopped
400g reindeer (thinly sliced)
water (about 4 cups in total)
1 stock cube / pot (game or beef)
6-7 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 carrots, cleaned and cubed
Black pepper
150 g smoked reindeer cheese (or Philadelphia cheese)
Sour cream (optional - I added a couple of tablespoons)
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley - chopped

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the chopped onion. Add the thinly sliced meat and brown lightly. Pull the meat apart while frying, so you end up with very small pieces.

Pour the meat and onion mix into a deep sauce pan, add enough water to cover. Add the stock pot, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and let simmer until meat is really tender, around 30-45 minutes.

Add the potatoes and carrots and enough water to cover the ingredients. Cook until the vegetables are done, about 15 min.

Add the cheese and sour cream if using. Mix well until the cheese has melted. Check seasoning and sprinkle with the parsley.

Serve with toasted dark rye bread and butter.

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  1. Perfect recipe, and very delicious! 👌👌I made it today. Thank you for sharing it

  2. Had this soup in Rovaniemi five years ago. Trying to revamp it today with bison.