Greenland in your kitchen:

Lamb soup

A recipe for you to cook at home

These days we are spending more time at home than ever before. This has led to many people becoming Do-It-Yourself experts, gardening gurus and cooking extraordinaires!

Some of you had to cancel your visit to Greenland during this time of COVID-19, so we thought that instead of completely missing the Greenland experience, we’d give you some inspiration to recreate a waft of Greenland in your kitchen. Namely, lamb soup with bread rolls.

The Greenlandic diet is largely based on meat due to the limitations of growing vegetables in the polar climate. Most produce (just like everything else) is flown into the country.

Lamb, you say?

Sheeps in the nature in the South Greenland. Photo by Aningaaq R Carlsen - Visit Greenland

What many people don’t realise is that tucked away in the very South of Greenland lies a green grassy belt where sheep roam freely during the summer and local produce is farmed. Ask any Greenlander and they will tell you that their lamb is more full of flavour than any other of its kind in the world.

Greenlanders are definitely biased, but this natural flavouring comes from breathing in the fresh air, drinking the purest water and grazing in undisturbed mountains and meadows for much of the year.

The land of the sheep farmers is milder than the rest of Greenland so that vegetables and sheep can be farmed here. So much so that when the shrimp migrated north to colder waters during the turn of the 2000s, the locals’ focus turned to the Norse tradition of raising sheep instead. The Royal Greenland factory was transformed into Neqi, an abattoir for Greenlandic meat. This meat is sold in supermarkets all over the country and has become a source of national pride.

Farmers Equipment. Photo by Peter Lindstrom - Visit Greenland

Cooking at home

A woman serving food at a kaffemik in Oqaatsut in Greenland. By Mads Pihl

While many people in the world are discovering their kitchens during COVID-19 lockdowns, a vast majority of Greenlanders were already way ahead of the stay-at-home baking and cooking trend. This is likely due to the fact that there are very limited delivery and fast food options in most communities in Greenland. It is therefore very natural for Greenlanders to spend time making delicious food at home.

The traditional Greenlandic cooking tradition is simple but appetising. It focuses on enhancing the taste of natural ingredients one can find from nature. The twist is that while some ingredients might be store-bought, there is also usually something hunted, gathered or grown by the hosts themselves added to the meal. 

A selection of greenlandic meat being prepared on the rocks in Nuuk in Greenland. Photo by Rebecca Gustafsson - Visit Greenland

Lamb soup recipe

We’d like to present to you a hearty simple dish, lamb soup, which can be served in most people’s homes. The recipe was first presented on Pilersuisoq’s new food website. This website aims to provide inspiration using the basic products that can be found in their general purpose stores around Greenland. The new website focuses on making everyday food more healthy.

So enjoy this taste of Greenland at home!

Ingredients

½ kg of lamb
1 onion
4 carrots
½ stalk of celery
4 medium-sized potatoes
3 smaller turnips
1 large leek – or a bag of frozen soup herbs
Butter / margarine and olive oil
Salt and pepper

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Course of action

  1. Cut all the vegetables to the desired size.
  2. The butter is browned and oil is added to the pan.
  3. Brown the lamb on both sides. When the meat has been browned, remove it from the pan.
  4. Cook the vegetables in the pan.
  5. Add the meat back to the vegetables and add 1 liter of water or until the water covers the contents of the pot. Simmer for an hour.
  6. The dish is served with coarse bread / flütes.

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Infographic:
Food in Greenland

The Greenlandic food culture is closely linked to the Greenlandic feeling of identity. If you want to feel like a genuine Greenlander eat like the locals!

This will give you a unique insight into a food culture that has traditionally been dependent on what can be caught in the wild. There are as many ways to eat Kalaalimernit as there are people, but here is a guide that will help you through some of the Greenlandic delicacies that you are likely to come across during your trip.

Tanny bio picture

Article by:  Tanny Por

As Content Manager, Tanny curates and tells stories about living, travelling (and sometimes surviving!) in Greenland. She also supports and develops Visit Greenland’s strategic initiatives across its different media and social platforms.