Every year, when autumn arrives, and it starts to get colder outside, Norwegians gather their friends and family around the dinner table to enjoy lamb and cabbage stew together.
The Norwegian national dish even has its own festive day – the last Thursday in September!
Traditional fårikål is very easy to make. It consists of just four ingredients: mutton, cabbage, salt, and whole black peppercorns.
Some people also add carrots and onions to the pot, or a little flour to thicken the sauce.
Feeling experimental? Try a more modern version by adding garlic and bay leaves, or by replacing a little of the water with dark beer.
The dish is served with boiled potatoes, and wafer-thin crispbread called flatbrød.
You can also serve with lingonberry jam.
(Makes 8 servings)
3 kg lamb meat
3 kg cabbage
8 tsp whole, black peppercorns
4 tsp salt
600 ml water
1. Rinse and slice the cabbage into wedges, about 2-4 cm thick.
2. Layer the cabbage and meat (starting with the meat, fatty side down) in a large pot, adding salt and pepper between the layers. If you want to keep the pepper together, place it in a suitable container. Some people like to add 2–4 tbsp of flour evenly between the layers to thicken the sauce.
3. Add water. Bring to the boil, then lower the temperature and let the stew simmer for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender and easy to pull apart.
4. Serve hot with boiled potatoes, and crispbread or lingonberry jam, if you like.
Beer or wine, and Aquavit are common pairings.
A distinctive beer, ale, or dark lager, especially if it has some sweetness or acidity, fits well with the stew. The same goes for a white or sparkling wine with a sweet or acidic fruity flavour and bouquet. A sour apple juice is a good non-alcoholic alternative.
Here are a few traditional desserts you can try if you have any room left after the stew:
How about a delicious cloudberry cream, or try tilslørte bondepiker – Nordic apple trifle, whose name translates as "veiled farm girls".
Lamb and cabbage stew has been a traditional dish in Norway for hundreds of years. The fact that the cabbage harvest coincided with the lamb slaughter season has likely contributed to the popularity of the dish.
Norwegian lamb is among the world's finest ingredients, and the meat from local producers offers many rich flavours. One example is Lofotlam, a geographically protected term for lamb from sheep farmed by the sea in beautiful Lofoten.
Watch Christine prepares a lamb and cabbage stew dinner at home, or find other traditional dishes below.
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