Sorry Santa, We Ate Blitzen
One of my Fika friends alerted me to the fact that this was at the Lidingo (ICA) grocery store.
Yes, it’s a taxidermy reindeer, advertising for a local favorite, Reindeer Stew/Finnbiff Stew, a popular meat dish this time of year. I love venison and beef stew, so why not reindeer? I did some asking around (and research on the internet) and came up with this…a version of the traditional Finnbiff dish.
Below is a picture of what you’ll need: (I’ll give modifications for my American friends)
1 lb. Reindeer Shavings (located in the freezer section). Now if you don’t have these, no worries, they’re like Steak’ems (sort of) and look exactly like the meat you’d use to make a Philly’s cheese steak, so just improvise.
6 slices bacon cut into pieces
8-10 fresh mushrooms chopped up
1 white onion chopped
1 T. butter for browning
3/4 C. water
1/2 C. milk
3/4 C. Gradfill (sour cream)
1/2 C. ligon berries or cranberries
3 T. brown cheese with goat’s milk*
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. each of onion powder and garlic powder
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
I don’t know a thing in America that even comes close to tasting like this stuff–a cross between a caramel candy and cheesecake, only saltier. It’s unique and really worth the search if you want to have the authentic Scandinavian experience. (Try Wegman’s or a specialty cheese shop.) It adds a depth of flavor that would be hard to replicated, but as I always say, improvise. You could substitute with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 C. grated mild cheddar cheese (and toss in a Kraft caramel for kicks).
To put it all together, first soften the onions in a tablespoon of butter, then add the cut up reindeer shavings , along with the bacon and fresh mushrooms.
Brown the meat, then add the juniper berries and water and simmer on low for 30 minutes to create a kind of stock.
Add the milk, sour cream, brown cheese, seasonings and continue to cook until starts to thicken.
Serve as a sauce over egg noodles or mashed potatoes with a side of greens.
The dish was amazing! It tasted more like what we’d call a stroganoff than an actual stew, creamy and full of flavor. The real test was seeing if Jonah would eat it (my most discerning critic) and…drum roll please…he LOVED it!