Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Make your own traditional Icelandic meat soup at home with this recipe

By Staff

  • A fancy meat soup Unless you are a chef at a fancy restaurant, the soup you make at home will look more like a stew! Photo/GVA

Traditional Icelandic meat soup is a hearty and popular meal, the perfect comfort food for a dark cold winter's day. Each family has it's own variation on the basic recipe which includes mutton or lamb meat, potatoes, turnips/rutabaga, rice, as well as herbs for spice and added flavor. 

If you want to try your hand at making this meal at home just pick one of the two recipes the staff here at Iceland Magazine has been using at home. "Soup herbs" can be bought at any Icelandic grocery store, but for our overseas readers who forgot to stock up on soup herbs on their last visit to Iceland, don't worry: Soup herbs are pieces of wafer thin slices of dried parsnip, carrots and leek. Many Icelanders skip the soup herbs completely, instead using only fresh ingredients.

Depending on how small you dice the meat and vegetables you eat the soup with a spoon and/or fork and knife. It's really a question of what you prefer!

Kjötsúpa is traditionally made from the cheapest pieces of lamb meat sold at the store, but any lamb or mutton will do.  

Recipe 1 (for 6 people)

3 liters (0.7 gallons) of water
2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of lamb meat (on the bone)
400 g (14 ounces) turnips/rutabaga
400 g (14 ounces) potatoes
200 g (7 ounces) carrots
40 g (1.4 ounces) rice
1 small 
onion, diced
5 cm piece of leek
5 tbs "soup herbs"
2 tbs salt
Black pepper to taste

Put the water in a large pot, dice the meat and bring to boiling.

Skim the scum of the surface of the stock and continue to boil as you add the diced vegetables and rest of the ingredients to the pot.

Lower heat and let simmer at low to medium heat for another hour. 

Recipe 2 (family portion: 2 adults, 2 kids)

1 kg (2.2 lbs) mutton (on the bone)
1.8 liters (0.5 gallons) water 
1 tbs salt 
1-2 tbs "soup herbs"
1/2 onion, finely chopped
500 g (1.1 lbs) rutabaga
500 g (1.1 lbs) potatoes
250 g (8.8 oz) carrots
100 g (3.5 oz) cabbage 
ground black pepper

You can add other vegetables to the soup, celery, leek, turnips, parsnips and kale - depending on what vegetables you have in your fridge. If you want a heartier soup add rice or rolled oats. Cut the vegetables into small to medium sized chunks, depending on taste.

Cut excessive fat off the meat, or leave it on, depending on taste. Put the meat into a large pot, pour in the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Skim the scum off the top and add salt.

Add in the soup herbs and the onion. Boil for 40 minutes. 

Add in the rest of the vegetables, except cabbage and kale. Boil for 15 minutes at low-medium heat.

Cut the cabbage and kale into small strips and add to the soup. Boil for 5, or until the vegetables are soft. 

Season with salt and pepper.

The meat and larger vegetable pieces can be served in the soup, or on a seperate dish.


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