(Relaxnews) – Iceland has launched a roving, mobile restaurant called Eldhús, “Iceland’s Little House of Food” that will serve traditional Icelandic dishes against the backdrop of a waterfall or snow-capped glaciers. The tourism board is promoting Icelandic cuisine — little known outside the island nation — at a time when Nordic and Scandinavian gastronomy is attracting interest on the global culinary scene.
Here are a few recipes for authentic, traditional Icelandic dishes, courtesy of Inspired by Iceland and food writer Nanna Rögnvaldsdóttir. The gastro-road trip kicks off March 7 for 12 days.
Icelandic Lamb Soup
Serves 4 as a main course
The Icelandic name of this very traditional soup means simply “meat soup” and for most Icelanders, this is the Icelandic soup, even though similar soups can be found in other countries. Formerly this soup was often served on Christmas Eve but later it became more of an everyday soup. Rutabagas, potatoes, and carrots are the traditional vegetables but every housewife used to have her very ownrecipe for it.
2 pounds lamb on the bone, cut in big chunks
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound rutabagas (swedes)
½ pound potatoes
½ pound carrots
1 small onion
1 cup shredded cabbage (optional)
Trim some of the excess fat off the meat. Place it in a large pan, add 6 cups cold water and heat slowly to a boil. Skim the broth, then add salt and pepper and simmer, partly covered, for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the rutabagas and cut them into chunks. Peel the potatoes and halve or quarter them unless they are small. Peel or scrape the carrots and cut them into pieces. Peel the onion and slice it thinly. Add the vegetables (except the cabbage, if using) to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes more. Add cabbage and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed, and serve. The soup is always eaten with the meat but it is often taken out and served on a separate plate. Soup plates are placed on the right side of the dinner plates. Some people prefer to cut up their meat on the dinner plate, transfer it to the soup plate and pour soup and vegetables over it. Others prefer taking a forkful of meat and a spoonful of soup alternately.
Almost every European nation has a recipe for deep-fried bows of some kind. They have been known in Denmark since medieval times. In Iceland, they are first mentioned in the old cookbook published in 1800. They became widespread in the nineteenth century, originally as a festive treat, but later they were regarded as everyday cookies. Most Icelandic kleinur are plump and soft but some prefer them to be thinner and more crisp. For that, just add a little less buttermilk to obtain a stiffer dough and roll it out more thinly. Icelandic kleinur are never sprinkled with sugar while hot, as is done with some similar cookies elsewhere. They are always eaten plain with coffee and are at their best when still warm.Kleinur seem to be very closely knit to a grandmotherly image and youngish Icelandic grannies are sometimes heard to say: “Yes, sure, I’m a grandmother, but I’m not so old that I stay at home and make kleinur!”
½ cup butter or margarie
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk or milk
2 teaspoons ground cardamom or grated zest of 1-2 lemons
5 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups flour, or as needed
Shortening or Crisco for deep-frying
Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar, then whisk in the eggs. Stir in buttermilk or milk and cardamom. Mix the baking powder with half the flour and stir it in. Add more flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth but no longer sticky. Try not to overwork the dough, as that tends to make it tough. Knead it until smooth, then divide it into two or more pieces and roll each piece out fairly thin on a floured surface. Cut it into 3 cm wide strips and cut each strip diagonally into 6-8 cm pieces. Cut a slit in each piece and pull the top corner of the piece through the slit. Heat the fat to 180°C and fry the kleinur, a few at a time, for 1.5 -2 minutes on each side, turning once, or until dark golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Eat warm with cold milk or let cool and serve with coffee.
For more information on the food tour, visit http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com