For every culture, there is a comfort food–a food whose aroma, texture and flavor immediately fills us with a sense of well-being and contentment. For many Icelanders, that food is kjötsúpa or meat soup, but it is so much more than that. It’s the warmth of a grandmother’s kitchen, a cozy space in the depths of winter’s dark and a delicious expression of Icelandic family traditions.
First Snow, First Soup
With the first snowfall usually comes the making of the first steaming pot of kjötsúpa. It may be called meat soup, but kjötsúpa, isn’t made with just any meat you may happen to have on hand. Just as a Texan will think beef and a Tennesseean will think pork, when you say meat in Iceland, it means lamb.
Basic kjötsúpa is simple, savory and heartwarming consisting primarily of lamb and seasonal vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and cabbage, but every family puts their own twist on the recipe using different herbs and spices. Even restaurants get in on the kjötsúpa action, creating different variations on the dish in the ongoing quest to highlight and enhance the wild yet delicate flavor of Icelandic lamb to its fullest.
It Only Gets Better
No matter how you make your kjötsúpa, whether you’re a staunch traditionalist following grandma’s recipe to the letter, or like to spice it up with some chili peppers, everyone agrees that kjötsúpa tastes even better the day after. And after a night of winter revelry, nothing soothes the body and soul better than a steaming bowl of kjötsúpa.
Icelandic lamb is such an integral part of Icelandic culture it is no wonder that kjötsúpa is the dish prepared at the first snowfall, that gentle harbinger of the harsh winter to come. It’s warm, it’s cozy and it gets tastier the longer the winter drags on. It’s kjötsúpa.
Want to make your own kjötsúpa? Check out https://www.icelandiclamb.is/recipes/ for more recipes.