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A taste of Norway

Meat Dishes for All Occasions






Lamb in cabbage
Salted lamb ribs
Herb-cured fillet of beef or elk
Meat patties with gravy and creamed cabbage
Salted, smoked leg of lamb with dill sauce
Meldal soup
Roast leg of lamb
Until fairly recently, meat used to be served mainly on special occasions and at weekends in Norway, but nowadays dishes that were previously reserved for Sundays and holidays have become everyday fare. Meat production in Norway is subject to stringent regulations. Farms are mostly small, which improves the animals' welfare. In the summer cattle, sheep and goats are often put out to graze in the mountains, a imparting a unique flavour to the meat.

Lamb in cabbage

(Serves 4)

Lamb is popular in Norway, especially for stews, since it is tasty and easy to prepare. Fårikål is a national dish.

1.5 kg lamb from neck, shank or breast, together with the bones, cut into serving-size pieces
1.5 kg garden cabbage
2 tsp salt
approx. 4 tsp peppercorns
1-2 tbsp flour
approx. 3 dl boiling water

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Cut the cabbage into segments.

Place the lamb and cabbage in layers in the saucepan, starting with the lamb. Sprinkle flour, salt and peppercorns between the layers.

Pour over boiling water. Bring to the boil and let the lamb and cabbage simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, which will take about 1-2 hours.

Fårikål should be served very hot on hot plates, together with plain boiled potatoes. This dish is often served with beer and aquavit.

Recipe and photo from the Norwegian Information Centre for Meat and Meat Products

Salted lamb ribs

Pinnekjøtt used to be a well-kept secret in the valleys and fjords of Western Norway and parts of Trøndelag, but now this hearty dish with its distinctive flavour has become popular all over Norway. Pinnekjøtt is rib of lamb which has been either salted and dried or salted, smoked and dried.

Pinnekjøtt has a good deal of bone and fat, so it is best to allow about 500 g per person if it is served on its own; if it is served together with sausages, allow 350 g per person.

1-2 kg pinnekjøtt

Divide the ribs into chops by cutting along the rib bones, and soak the pieces in cold water overnight.

Lay a wire rack or birch twigs (stripped of their bark) in the bottom of a saucepan. The twigs should be laid crossways so as to form a lattice. Fill with water up to the height of the rack or twigs and place the meat in even layers on top. Bring the water to the boil and steam the meat until it is tender (about 2 hours), taking care that the saucepan does not boil dry.

Many people maintain that pinnekjøtt is best browned under the grill or fried for a few minutes after being steamed.

In Norway pinnekjøtt is served on hot plates with coarse sausages, boiled potatoes, mashed rutabaga or swede, the cooking juices and mustard or cranberries crushed with sugar. Flatbread is also a frequent accompaniment.

Since this dish is rather rich, beer and aquavit are a very suitable accompaniment.

Mashed rutabaga or swede

approx. 1 kg rutabaga or swede
water, pepper, salt, cooking juices from the pinnekjøtt

Peel and slice the rutabaga or swede, and cook it until tender in lightly salted water. Pour off the water and mash the rutabaga or swede. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the cooking juices from the pinnekjøtt.

Recipe and photo from the Norwegian Information Centre for Meat and Meat Products

Herb-cured fillet of beef or elk

Fillet steak cured with herbs has a wonderful taste, and is simple to prepare. The recipe below serves 4-6 people.

600 g fillet of beef or elk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1 dl red wine
1/2 dl good-quality cooking oil,
e.g. olive or soy bean oil

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Mix the sugar, salt and herbs with the red wine and oil. Place the fillets in a plastic bag and cover with the marinade. Close the bag and place it in the refrigerator for three days. Turn the bag over every morning and evening.

How to serve:

Slice the meat very thinly and arrange it on a dish with lettuce leaves, onion rings and pickled cucumbers. Let the dish stand at room temperature for several hours before serving. It should be accompanied by a sauce such as sour cream flavoured with cranberries (approx. 1 dl sour cream to 1 dl cranberry jam or cranberries crushed with sugar), or a sweet mustard sauce (see under "Marinated salmon" for the recipe for this). Fried mushrooms and root vegetables are also very good with this dish, and so is fresh French bread. It should be served with a robust red wine or cold beer.

Meat patties with gravy and creamed cabbage

(Serves 4)

This dish is often known as "mother's meat patties". It used to be a point of pride for newly married women to be able to make meat patties that were as good as mother made. Today young couples presumably share the cooking, but meat patties have lost none of their popularity.

500 g minced beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp potato flour
2.5 dl water
1 egg
fat for frying

Mix the minced beef with the spices and potato flour, and add the water a little at a time. Stir in the lightly beaten egg. Shape fairly large patties and brown them on both sides. Place the meat patties in the gravy and let them simmer for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Creamed cabbage

approx. 1/2 kg garden cabbage


2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
4 dl milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cut the cabbage into small pieces and cook for approx. 30 minutes in lightly salted water. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Let the sauce cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the cooked cabbage, bring to the boil and add salt and nutmeg to taste.


2 1/2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
5 dl meat juices or stock

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Brown the flour and butter well in a cast-iron pan over low heat. Stir constantly. Bring the meat juices or stock to the boil. Add to the browned mixture of butter and flour, and beat until smooth. Let the sauce cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. A touch of cream makes a good addition, but this is optional.

Recipe and photo from the Norwegian Information Centre for Meat and Meat Products

Salted, smoked leg of lamb with dill sauce

(Serves 7-8)

There are many different ways of cooking salted smoked leg of lamb. In this recipe it is served hot, but it is just as good served cold, as a sandwich topping or in a salad. Salted smoked lamb can be used in the same way as ham, but many people consider it much tastier.

a lightly salted, smoked leg of lamb weighing 1.5-2 kg
bunch of fresh dill
knob of butter and flour to thicken the sauce
stock vegetables: carrot, leek,
a small piece of celeriac, parsnip/parsley, a pinch of thyme, bay leaf
and white pepper

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The lamb should not be soaked beforehand. Place it in a saucepan, if necessary after removing the knuckle end. Cover with cold water and bring rapidly to the boil. Skim well. Reduce the heat and let the lamb simmer at about 70-80°C (use a thermometer). Use low heat; this takes longer but gives a better result.

Simmer for half an hour. Taste the stock and add more water if it is too salty. Usually the stock is rather tasteless. In this case add salt, pepper and stock vegetables. Continue to simmer. Allow 21/2 hours for a 1.5-2 kg leg at 70°C.

Use the stock from the lamb to make dill sauce. Make a roux with butter and flour and add the sieved stock. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped dill at the last minute.

Recipe from Norsk mat uten grenser, Universitetsforlaget 1988 Photo: Bengt Wilson

Meldal soup

(Serves 6)

Sodd is a speciality of Trøndelag, with a number of local variants. The soup is always made with several different kinds of meat. In some places small flour dumplings and meat balls are added, in others just the meat balls. Sometimes neither are used, only the meat cut into small pieces and added to the soup.

1.5 kg meat without bone
(a mixture of beef, pork and mutton)
3 l water
3-4 tsp salt
1 tsp peppercorns
piece of dried ginger root
1 tsp chopped onion
5 dl carrots cut into strips
5 dl diced rutabaga or swede
5 dl diced garden cabbage

Meat balls:

250 g sausage meat

Flour dumplings

2 dl thin cream
1 2/2 tbsp sugar
120 g flour
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg

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Simmer the boned meat in water with salt, pepper and ginger until it is tender (60-90 minutes). Remove it from the liquid, cool and cut into slices. Pour a little of the cooking liquid over the sliced meat. Cook the vegetables in the stock until they are tender. Form the sausage meat into small balls and simmer in the stock with the vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Flour dumplings:

Bring the cream and sugar to the boil. Add flour until the mixture comes away from the edges of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs one by one. Add nutmeg to taste. Shape into small dumplings and allow to simmer in the stock with the vegetables and meat balls for about 5 minutes.

Arrange the slices of meat on a dish. Serve with boiled potatoes and flatbread, accompanied by the soup containing the meat balls, dumplings and vegetables.

Recipe from Vårt norske kjøkken, KOM forlag 1993 Photo: Bengt Wilson

Roast leg of lamb

leg of lamb weighing approx 2.5 kg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 tsp crushed rosemary
1 clove of garlic (optional)
2-3 carrots

Preheat the oven to 125°C. Rub salt, pepper, rosemary and the finely chopped garlic, if you are using it, well into the lamb. Insert a roasting thermometer into the thickest part of the leg, making sure it does not touch the bone.

Place the meat in an ovenproof dish. Peel the onion and cut it into segments. Peel the carrots and place them with the onion in the dish.

Place the dish in the oven. After about 1 hour, add boiling water to the dish. Make sure the dish does not boil dry during the cooking. The lamb is cooked when the thermometer reads 70°C (underdone). If you want it well done, wait until the thermometer reads 80°C. The time will vary according to the size and thickness of the leg. Allow about 1 hour per kg.

Let the lamb rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving it. Make the gravy during this time.


(Serves 6-8)

4 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
approx. 10 dl roasting juices; if necessary make up the quantity with a stock cube
small quantity of red wine (optional)
salt, pepper

Melt the butter and add the flour. Stir over low heat until the roux is nut-brown.

Add juices from the cooking or a mixture of juices and stock. The best results are obtained with stock from mutton bones. Stir continuously and bring to the boil after each addition of liquid. Add the red wine if you are using it.

Let the gravy simmer (do not allow to come to a rolling boil) without a lid for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the lamb with the gravy, boiled potatoes and a selection of vegetables, e.g. green beans, carrots, tomatoes.

Recipe and photo from the Norwegian Information Centre for Meat and Meat Products






This recipe book is produced by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is copied with permission.

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