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)

Thin sheets of frozen reindeer

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

*note about brown cheese, Here’s what it looks like.

Here’s what it looks like

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.

First step, chopped up meat and onion

Brown the meat, then add the juniper berries and water and simmer on low for 30 minutes to create a kind of stock.

Second step, add juniper berries and water, simmer 30 minutes

Add the milk, sour cream, brown cheese, seasonings and continue to cook until starts to thicken.

Adjust as needed

Trifecta of flavor

Here’s what the dish should look like with everything added

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!

Remember that post I wrote about school pictures and the Captain America shirt? Yeah, well, it’s a favorite.


One Comment on “Sorry Santa, We Ate Blitzen

  1. Is “most discerning critic” a nice way to say, “my biggest complainer about everything I ever make no matter how I try killing myself to please them all and the one child I would most like to smack upside the head at the dinner table”? tee-hee….just wondering.
    Seeing that reindeer smack in the middle of the grocery store to advertise the sale of meat really was a shocker for a second…can you imagine them putting a taxidermized-stuffed pig in Safeway to sell Jimmy Dean Sausage, or a cow to sell hamburger? We Americans don’t appreciate when someone connects the dots for us back to our food source…very interesting. Looks yummy Lana, but I have to say, I’d rather think of reindeer flying the skies instead of in my tummy. But then again, I’m American, so my food choices don’t always make sense!!!

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