Citizens – I have at last reached my final destination of Oslo, capital city of Norway, to meet with the secret cabal of Dictators for our annual meeting of world domination!
While I am here, I wish to share the national dish of Norway with you! 🙂
Fårikål (pronounced “forrycoal”) is a very old and traditional Norwegian dish, consisting simply of pieces of mutton (or lamb) on the bone, cabbage and whole black peppercorns cooked for several hours in a casserole. Traditionally served with potatoes, the dish is typically prepared in early autumn. Fårikål is a compounded word that literally means “sheep in cabbage”, “får i kål”.
In the 1970s, fårikål was actually elected the national dish of Norway and it remains so to this very day. Norwegians LOVE this dish, and even have a fårikål society to maintain its traditions.
The Fårikål Feast Day is celebrated on the last Thursday in September each year. Even though fårikål is traditionally made (and eaten) in Autumn, there have been other versions that have obtained ‘seasonal’ status.
For example, the ‘hunting season’ version of the dish includes juniper berries in the stock. The ‘winter season’ dish also uses juniper berries but with a dash of cumin spice for extra warmth. For the ‘summer season’ dish, smoked lamb is used to create a deep flavour and the cabbage is steamed to retain a little crunch.
I have combined aspects from all of the different versions in my recipe, and included a bay leaf (used in some versions of the recipe) as well as a variety of different peppercorns. All my changes are optional, should you wish to make the “purist” version.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 4 pounds (2 kg) mutton (preferred but nearly impossible to find outside of Kentucky, where mutton is still eaten as BBQ) or just use lamb on the bone (shoulder, shank or neck) cut into 1 inch (3 cm) slices
- 1 pound (½ kg) smoked lamb bacon (TFD addition) – if you’re going for the traditional recipe, increase lamb on the bone by 1 pound)
- 5 pounds (2 ½ kg) green cabbage
- 2 ¼ cups (500ml) water
- 6 tsp whole black peppercorns (if going traditional) or use my version: 2 tsp black, 2 tsp white and 2 tsp green peppercorns (drained)
- Salt, to taste (about 3 tsp or so)
- 1 Bay Leaf (optional)
- 3 juniper berries, crushed (optional)
- Cut the cabbage into quarters down the core and cut each quarter into 3-4 wedges (the idea is to keep part of the core on each segment, which will hold the leaves together and prevent the whole thing disintegrating while cooking).
- Pour the water into a large casserole pot, add crushed juniper and bay leaf. Place a layer of lamb, then a layer of cabbage into the pot, seasoning each layer with salt and some of the whole peppercorns as you go.
- Repeat this layering process until you have used up all the ingredients. The final layer on the top should always be cabbage.
- Cover tightly and bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer over a very low heat for 2-3 hours until the lamb is really tender and falling off the bone (check the water level now and then, making sure the pan doesn’t run dry).
- Serve on warmed plates with boiled potatoes, flatbrød, and homemade lingonberry jam. The juices in the bottom of the pot make an excellent gravy.
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